Alita: Battle Angel has been a pet project of James Cameron for a long time now. Based on managa series of the same name, the movie was made, after years of development, in 2018. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, the expensive sci-fi franchise starter was released in 2019 and made around $400 million at the box office. But 2 years removed from that day and no sequel is in sight, something the director is looking to change.
Before Disney getting their hands on the property, Alita: Battle Angel was owned by 20th Century Fox. But after months of negotiation Disney bought the film and TV production unit of the Murdoch family corporation for over $70 billion. Since the sale, all of the properties have come under the umbrella of Disney and it has been all silence regarding building an Alita franchise.
The Robert Rodriguez directed flick garnered mixed reviews at the box office, praise for Rose Salazar and action sequences, and it was well received by fans. But businesswise, nothing much happened for the project beyond almost breaking even. Since the film’s release, however, Robert has been playing in the Disney sandbox, and he is hoping the work will lead to some valuable and progressive talk about Alita’s future.
Alita: Battle Angel Part 2 – Robert Rodriguez is Holding Out Hope
In the first movie released in 2019, Alita, a cyborg soldier of a long-finished war, is discovered by a doctor. He gives her new body parts, same parts that were meant to help his now-dead daughter walk again. No memory of her past, Alita tries to assimilate but flashbacks lead her to a different path, on a head first collision course with the sky city of Zalem and its master Nova.
By the end of the movie, we see Alita win the roller derby as she punches her ticket to Zalem. Then the end scene shows Nova looking on from the sky city and it is revealed Edward Norton is playing the villaneous character. Throughout Alita: Battle Angel, Nova is dormant, he does not do anything expect watch. So, getting a n actor of Edward Norton’s caliber definitely means the writers and creators of the film had a sequel in mind.
James Cameron, who produced the movie, talked about a sequel and Robert Rodriguez was gearing or Alita part 2 since before the film came out. But with a $150-$200 million budget, the film needed about $400-$500 million to breakeven. Its total gross at the box office was about $400 million. Not bad, but not the type of numbers that can start a massive sci-fi franchise.
Things got even more complicated when Disney bought 20th Century Fox. From dealing with executives at Fox, the Spy Kids director had a whole new team to communicate with. But Robert Rodriguez looks to be in good terms with Disney. He directed the action-packed episode 7 in season 2 of The Mandalorian and is currently finishing the Boba Fett show, premiering in December 2021.
All this work has got Rodriguez excited about Alita part 2. He told The Nerd Basement, “I’m hoping I’m earning some points by doing so much for Disney, ’cause they own it now [after buying Fox] and that’s why we weren’t able to jump right into the sequel, because of that whole thing.” The director also mentioned he does not care what form the sequel takes, he wants to do it all the same.
“I’m trying to see what happens with [The Book of] Boba Fett. I think that’s going to knock people’s socks off so when that happens I will go in and say: ‘OK, I’ve been here for a while, let’s figure out how we can do Alita whether it’s for streaming or theatrical because it’s such a great property, people love it. I love it and Jim loves it,’” he continued.
James Cameron is currently busy getting his Avatar sequel finished and then working on three more to round out the planned 5-movie franchise. Robert Rodriguez is being kept busy inside the Star Wars world, and if his enthusiasm is anything to go by, Boba Fett is going to rock and a second season will be greenlit.
So, there does not appear to be time for anyone to sit down and draw out an arc for Alita. We would love to see Alita part 2, a little more of Nova and a whole lot more of Zalem, but like Tron 3, Alita sequel appears to be in developmental hell. Only with determination and persistence will we get what we want.
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