Anime with Live-Action Hollywood Adaptations in Development: Part 2
Following up on our previous article that rounded up all the adaptation projects announced or updated in 2020, we’ve put together a list of all the remaining anime live-action Hollywood adaptation projects that appear to be actively in development. They are listed in reverse-chronological order from when the projects were first revealed.
Gundam (Announced 2018)
At Anime Expo 2018, Sunrise President & CEO Yasuo Miyakawa revealed plans to co-produce a Gundam live-action movie with Legendary Entertainment and Cale Boyter. Boyter has previously produced films such as Pacific Rim: Uprising and Detective Pikachu. Deadline reported in 2019 that writer Brian K. Vaughn, best known for creating comic book series like Runaways, had signed on to write the screenplay and executive producer the film. In April 2021, Netflix revealed via Twitter that Jordan Vogt-Robers would be directing the film for Netflix.
Who’s Involved: Sunrise, Legendary Entertainment, Cale Boyter (Producer), Brian K. Vaughn (Screenplay/Executive Producer)
My Hero Academia (Announced 2018)
In October 2018, Deadline reported that Legendary Entertainment had plans to adapt Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia into a live-action feature film. Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter would serve as a producer on behalf of Legendary, with Ryosuke Yoritomi on behalf of manga publisher Shueisha. In August 2021, Shinsuke Sato (“Bleach,” “Gantz,” “Kingdom” and “Alice in Borderland”) signed on to direct the film.
Who’s Involved: Legendary Entertainment, Toho, Shueisha, Alex Garcia (Producer), Jay Ashenfelter (Producer), Ryosuke Yoritomi (Producer)
Saint Seiya (Announced 2016)
Toei Animation first announced plans for live-action and CG adaptations of Saint Seiya at CCXP, a comic con in Brazil, noting that creator Masami Kurumada would be consulting on the release timeline. Eiga.com reported in 2017 that the film would be an English-language adaptation co-produced by Toei Animation and Hong Kong-based A Really Good Film Company (ARGF). The article also noted Tomek Baginski (Executive Producer of live-action The Witcher series) would direct the film and Convergence Entertainment’s Tim Kwok and Miguel Faura joined the project as executive producers. In 2018, writers Will Geiger, Blazej Dzikowski (previously worked with Baginski on Polish Legends, a series of animated sci-fi shorts), and Eugene Son (Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya, Avengers Assemble) were revealed to be working on the screenplay.
Who’s Involved: Toei Animation and A Really Good Film Company, Director Tomek Baginski (“Katedra”). Producers Jeffrey Chan, Yoshi Ikezawa, and Joseph Chou. Convergence Entertainment’s Tim Kwok and Miguel Faura serve as Executive Producers. Casting Director Brad Gilmore was added to the staff in 2018. Sola Entertainment is financing (rumored). Will Geiger, Blazej Dzikowski, and Eugene Son were announced as screenwriters (rumored)
Attack on Titan (Announced 2016)
Variety announced that Warner Bros had finalized a deal with Kodansha in 2018, along with the director and producer line-up.
Who’s Involved: Warner Bros., Andy Muschietti (Director); Producers – David Heyman (“Harry Potter,” “Fantastic Beasts”), Masi Oka (“Mega Man”), and Andy’s sister Barbara Muschietti (“It” and “Mama”).
Sword Art Online (Announced 2016)
Deadline reported in August 2016 that Skydance Media had acquired the global live-action rights to Sword Art Online. Executive Producer, Laeta Kalogridis (Altered Carbon), confirmed in an interview with Collider in 2018 that the series would feature Asian actors.
Who’s Involved: Patrick Massett and John Zinman (Friday Night Lights, The Blacklist, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) will serve as writers, showrunners, and executive producers. With Massett and Zinman, Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar) wrote the pilot episode and will serve as an executive producer alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross. [Deadline]
Sword Art Online (Announced 2016)
Variety reported that Lionsgate signed on Michael Gracey (“The Greatest Showman”) to direct an adaptation of Naruto in 2015. During a Naruto and Boruto stage event at Jump Festa in Japan in 2016, Shonen Jump shared pre-production art and revealed that author Masashi Kishimoto would be involved with the production. In 2017, Hollywood Reporter revealed that the writers of “Red,” “Red 2,” and “Meg” would tackle a re-write of the live-action Naruto movie script. As of a 2018 interview with Gracey, the script was still in development and the film would not go into production until they have “a script that excites everyone.” In May, entertainment insider and known leaker Daniel Richtman revealed in a Patron post that Jonathan Levine was tapped with writing the script and that a casting call had gone out for the Naruto film.
Who’s Involved: Arad Productions, Lionsgate (Erik Feig, Geoff Shaveitz and Kelly O’Malley), Writers Jon and Erich Hoeber; Writer Jonathan Levine (not confirmed)
Robotech (Announced 2007)
When the live-action adaptation was first revealed in 2007, Tobey Maguire, Drew Crevello, Frank Agrama (Harmony Gold Chairman), and Jason Netter were lined up to produce the film for Warner Bros, with Craig Zahler tapped to write the screenplay. Between 2008 and 2009, Lawrence Kasdan, Alfred Gough, Miles Millar, and Tom Rob Smith were all said to have worked on writing the script. However, when Sony took over the rights from Warner Bros in 2015, they reportedly started over on the script with Michael Gordon (“300,” “GI Joe”). James Wan was confirmed to direct in 2015 but later dropped to work on Aquaman. In 2017 Andy Muschietti (“It”) was announced as the new director, followed by news that James Fuchs (“Wonder Woman”) was tapped as the writer. In September 2019, Muschietti confirmed in an interview with an Argentinian news outlet that the script has been completed. He also noted that the property is “complicated” due to a lack of popularity in the U.S. and needing $100 million to make the movie. In April 2021, an expansive agreement allowed immediate international distribution of Macross and Robotech, as well as cooperation on future project distribution. The press release also noted that Big West would not oppose the Japanese release of the upcoming live-action Robotech film, signaling the intent to continue developing the project.
Who’s Involved: Andy Muschietti (Director), Barbara Muschietti (Producer), Gianni Nunnari (Producer), Mark Canton (Producer), Frank Agrama, Michael Gordon, Jehan Agrama, Leonard B. Rosman, and Christy Duran; Michael Gordon (Writer), and Jason Fuchs (Writer).
Akira (Announced 2002)
Warner Bros. first purchased the rights to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira in 2002 and have made numerous attempts at a live-action adaptation, but thus far none of them have come to fruition. In 2017, Deadline shared that Akira might happen after all and that Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) was in talks to write and direct the long-awaited film. The project then went a few years without updates, but in October 2019 Taika Waititi confirmed that the live-action remake would still be happening with a slated release date of May 21, 2021. However, due to project overlaps with the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder, production was continually pushed back until it was ultimately removed from Warner Bros.’ upcoming film release schedule. According to Waititi, the timeline for Akira has been shifted over two years back. Given the lack of updates since 2019, it’s likely that this project is still in development and won’t be releasing in May 2021 as previously stated by Waititi.
Who’s Involved: Warner Bros., Taika Waititi (Director / Writer)
See something that’s missing or needs to be updated? Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated April 12, 2021: Gundam film director announced by Netflix on Twitter. Robotech live-action film mentioned in Harmony Gold USA, Studio Nue Inc, and BIG WEST Co. Ltd press release.
Updated August 13, 2021: Shinsuke Sato signed on to direct My Hero Academia live-action film.
Updated August 30, 2021: Added details about Naruto live-action film adaptation.