James Cameron has dreamt of creating a film adaptation of Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Battle Angel Alita for more than 15 years. At first he was just waiting for live-action 3D technology to catch up; of course, Cameron himself helped get it there with Avatar, but then got swept up in making three sequels back to back to back. Finally, after years of false starts and delays, it looks like Alita will finally make it to the big screen with the help of Robert Rodriguez. Ahead of its July 20th, 2019 release, the film’s first trailer has premiered online.
Cameron isn’t directing the project, though he did adapt the script with Laeta Kalogridis and Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez himself directs the sci-fi epic, which follows the titular cyborg after she’s rescued from a trash heap by a 26th century scientist, who then rebuilds her. Together, the two serve as bounty hunters as Alita comes to face the reality of her previous existence. Cameron, who is producing the film alongside Jon Landau, has said the adaptation tells the “spine story” of the first four installments of the manga.
Rosa Salazar stars as Alita, and the film renders her via digital means that combine live action and VFX. Her wide, searching eyes and graceful movements evoke an anime character made manifest, and distinguish the character from her flesh-and-blood counterparts. Christoph Waltz plays Dr. Dyson Ido, the scientist who brought her back to life, and the impressive supporting cast is rounded out by Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, and Jackie Earle Haley.
“Robert and I have been looking for a film to do together for years, so I was pumped when he said he wanted to do Battle Angel,” Cameron said back in 2015. “He’s very collaborative and we’re already like two kids building a go-kart, just having fun riffing creatively and technically. This project is near and dear to me, and there’s nobody I trust more than Robert, with his technical virtuosity and rebel style, to take over the directing reins. We’re looking forward to learning a lot from each other while we make a kick-ass epic.”
Watch the ultra-stylish trailer above.