Just as things were looking up for Warner Bros’ long-planned film adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira manga, the project has once again been put on hold, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This decision supposedly follows news that director Taika Waititi has signed on to a follow-up of his Marvel Studios blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok.
Akira was previously slated to release in the United States on 21 May 2021, and was in the process of a worldwide talent search. Warner Bros. is said to be keen on keeping Waititi involved, and hoping he’ll return to the project after Thor.
The rights to produce the film were first acquired by Warner Bros. all the way back in 2002, with various directors and screenwriters attached in the years since. In contrast with apparent previous drafts of the script, when speaking to IGN in April 2017 prior to being officially announced for the project, Taika Waititi noted his hope to cast untapped Asian teen talent for the film’s roles.
Akira is most commonly remembered for Otomo’s landmark 1988 anime film, which is often regarded as expanding western interest in Japanese pop-culture, such as anime. The anime film is currently available on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD from Manga Entertainment UK, and the manga has been published in English by Kodansha Comics.