Remember the good old days of 2005? MySpace was taking over the Internet, Mel Gibson was unleashing R-rated tirades that weren’t in any film script — and some long-forgotten hermit named James Cameron was making public appearances, claiming he had two boundary-breaking projects on the horizon.
Well, as it turns out, he was right — and choosing “Avatar” as the first of the two films to make seems pretty damn brilliant in retrospect. But what about the other movie?
“'Avatar' was something Jim had written before, but we were about to embark on a film called ‘Battle Angel: Alita,’ and then we looked at ourselves and said ‘Wait a second, ‘Avatar’ is something that Jim always referred to as his magnum opus, and we can do it now,’” remembered the filmmaker’s producing partner, Jon Landau. “But [‘Battle Angel’] is something that Jim is very, very passionate about. It was actually brought to our attention by another filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro; Guillermo saw those things in the property that he thought would really relate to Jim, and Jim responded to it immediately.”
Although Landau was quick to point out that Cameron plans to shoot an “Avatar” sequel first, he re-affirmed the filmmaker’s intentions to adapt Yukito Kishiro’s manga classic after that.
“We had a wonderful writer who came in and collaborated with Jim, Laeta Kalogridis, who worked on it; Laeta brought to our attention that there was much more to this world of Battle Angel than we ever knew,” explained Landau. “We were familiar with the anime that had been produced, we were familiar with one of the main books. But she opened us up to the other nine books that exist, and how rich that world is.”
In a way, it was this eye-opening that caused Cameron to choose “Avatar” first.
“We really wanted to take our time in developing a large arc-ing story that really encompasses the whole world,” remembered Landau. “We were very close to doing that movie before we did ‘Avatar,’ and I think you’ll see that resurface. That’s a story in our minds about: What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to fall in love? Are you human if you have a heart? Are you human if you have a mind? Or are you human if you just have a body? It’s a journey of self-discovery for a young girl.”
The general consensus over the past few years is that Cameron and co. will drop the name of their main character from the title and simply call the film “Battle Angel.” But according to Landau, that will definitely not be the movie’s name — and for good reason.
“I’m telling people that we have to call it ‘Alita: Battle Angel,’ because Jim only does T&A movies,” grinned Landau, listing the examples. “’Titanic,’ ‘Aliens,’ ‘Terminator,’ ‘Abyss,’ ‘True Lies,’ ‘Avatar.’”
“So, we can’t call it ‘Battle Angel’,” he insisted. “We have to call it ‘Alita: Battle Angel.’”
What do you think? Should Cameron do “Alita: Battle Angel” next? Or make an “Avatar” sequel first? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!