On Monday, Variety reported that Warner Bros. has halted production on its live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary manga, “Akira.” The studio intended for the film to go into production this fall with “Thor Ragnarok” director Taika Waititi at the helm. However, things changed after Waititi reportedly announced plans to write and direct the fourth “Thor” film for Marvel Studios.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. is still keen to have Waititi direct “Akira” once he wraps up his Marvel Cinematic Universe commitments.
A Long and Troubled Production
Waititi’s decision to put his version of “Akira” on the back burner is only the latest production setback for the film.
In 2002, Warner Bros. acquired the rights to produce a live-action remake of the 1988 animated adaption of the manga. That same year, the studio announced “Blade” helmer Stephen Norrington would bring the apocalyptic sci-fi tale to the big screen.
However, after Norrington’s adaptation of “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” flopped at the box office, Warner Bros. delayed its remake. In 2008, the studio restarted production on the film with Ruairí Robinson (“The Last Days of Mars”) as its director. But Robinson left “Akira” after a year. The studio named Albert Hughes (“Alpha”) as Robinson’s replacement in 2010.
Unsurprisingly, Hughes didn’t hang around long either. The filmmaker departed the project in 2011 due to “creative differences.” Jaume Collet-Serra (“The Commuter”) replaced Hughes. However, he exited the seemingly cursed movie after clashing with the studio on budgetary issues.
Warner Bros. next offered the film to George Miller (“Mad Max”), Justin Lin (“Fast & Furious 6”), and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”), but they all turned it down. In 2017, the studio celebrated its 12th anniversary of not making a live-action version of “Akira” by approaching Taika Waititi to helm the project. He officially accepted the position two months ago, and Warner Bros. set the film for release on May 21, 2021.
Following tradition, the film quickly developed production problems. Script issues arose that were going to delay “Akira’s” start date. Now, the studio has decided to postpone its development until Waititi is finished making “Thor 4,” because Warner Bros. likes his take on the project.
Whatever happens with the Warner Bros. film, “Akira” will be getting new content soon. Otomo is currently producing a new TV series based on his manga.
‘Thor 4’ Details
Marvel hasn’t announced the production of “Thor 4,” so its plot and cast details are mostly unknown. However, The Hollywood Reporter notes that star Chris Hemsworth is set to reprise his role as the film’s titular thunder god.
**Spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame”** (but really? c’mon, if you haven’t seen it yet, well…)
Audiences last saw the Thor character in “Avengers: Endgame,” where he joined up with the “Guardians of the Galaxy” heroes. James Gunn will helm the third “Guardians” film. However, he is currently directing the sequel to 2016’s “Suicide Squad.”
As such, it’s unclear in which movie the Asgardian hero will next appear.
Though Marvel hasn’t announced the names of the films that will make up the fourth phase of its cinematic universe, it has revealed its release date calendar. While the studio has reserved two slots in 2020, “Thor 4” probably isn’t coming to theaters until sometime in 2021. Marvel plans on releasing four movies that year.
On July 20, Marvel Studios will hold a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. It’s possible the corporation will make an official “Thor 4” announcement at the event.