By this time in 2021, the live-action remake of AKIRA just might finally become a reality and be showing at an AMC theatre near you! After almost two decades of development at Warner Bros., the true-to-the-source adaptation of the manga magnum opus written by Katsuhiro Otomo is on track with THOR: RAGNAROK director Taika Waititi. He was brought on board by Warner Bros. to helm this new vision of teenage rebellion and psychic powers colliding in futuristic Neo Tokyo — which is perfect, as Waititi is the best person for the job!
Telling the story of childhood friends/biker gang buddies Tetsuo and Kaneda, this sci-fi tale sees one of AKIRA’s leads discovering psychokinetic abilities, with the other trying to stop their compatriot before they grow too powerful. Previously brought to life in the landmark anime adaptation that captivated global audiences in 1988, this is the first time AKIRA will be seen with actual human actors on the big screen.
Already displaying a knack for adapting the world of four-paneled excitement with his directing on THOR: RAGNAROK, Taika Waititi’s comic book vision will maintain the colorful world of not only the original manga, but also that 1988 film. Not to mention, the director will be pulling double duty as AKIRA’s co-screenwriter, alongside ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE writer Michael Golamco.
So, Waititi will also be in tune with the needs of the script for the live-action version of AKIRA. But having Golamco, a man of Filipino and Chinese-American descent, writing the script with him will also help Taika Waititi avoid one of the greatest controversies that has kept this project on the ground for so long: the recasting of the characters as American leads.
In previous iterations of AKIRA, Neo Tokyo was changed to Neo Manhattan, with stars like Garrett Hedlund and Hayden Christensen considered for lead roles. This had upset fans during the film’s early production, but with Waititi and Michael Golamco creating the story, the film is more likely to retain the ethnic identity of its source material.
They are the perfect pair to make AKIRA a live-action adaptation of a manga classic worth waiting for. With a release date of May 21, 2021, in mind for the big ticket refresh, we have quite a ways to go before we start to see any images or videos. But we will update you as soon as they release, so check back often for AKIRA news.