Alita: Battle Angel, based on the Battle Angel Alita manga series from the 90s, released in theaters in 2019. It’s still easily the best live-action film adapted from manga. The film introduced new audiences to a unique and futuristic world, interesting characters, and tremendous special effects. It’s emotional, action-packed, and genuinely one of the most entertaining movies to come out in quite a while. Unfortunately, there’s been no real sign of the sequel that this outstanding film deserves.
The necessary sequel is still a possibility, but there have been several things working against it. For starters, even though fans collectively seemed to love the movie, critics were rather lukewarm on it. Negative critical performance can certainly deter movie studios from wanting to revisit a movie. What’s weird about the responses from critics, though, is that most negative reviews are rather vague, like saying that “it had a bad script” without ever saying what was bad about it. The outpour of fan support certainly shows that the out-of-touch critics are wrong, but studios tend to focus more on the critics, unfortunately.
Another crucial factor is the Fox/Disney merger that took place a few years ago. Alita: Battle Angel was produced by 20th Century Fox, which is now owned by Disney. Not only did the merger move production and movie releases back a bit, but now Disney has the say of how the sequel is handled. Alita: Battle Angel made a good $405 million at the box office, but it may not have been quite enough for Disney’s high standards. They may not deem it profitable enough to revisit.
The other element to take into consideration is that the first film took about 16 years to finally get made. That’s a hefty development time for any movie. James Cameron, who wrote and produced Alita and was originally signed on to direct, is likely to return for any future sequel. He’s one of the greatest filmmakers around, but that does lead to a slight problem. By the time the Avatar sequel finally releases, it will have been well over a decade since the original hit the big screen. At this rate, if an Alita sequel does happen, it may be just as long of a wait.
There are many reasons why this sequel definitely needs to happen, though. For one, the movie is just that great. It tells a wonderful and heartfelt story, has some of the most intense action ever on the big screen, and the setting was something to marvel at. A film being as good as this is reason enough to produce a sequel.
One of the most notable aspects of the movie is how exceptional the visual effects are. Alita: Battle Angel is one of the best examples of modern special effects. That’s for a movie that came out a couple years ago now. Imagine how much further the tech involved with visual effects can evolve over the course of the next few years. They will only be able to achieve even more with the sequel’s visual effects and create something truly grand.
The movie’s story ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Alita prepares for her inevitable ascent to Zalem to confront Nova and possibly learn even more about her past, and then it ends. There are quite a few books in the manga series, but it’s okay if there’s not as many movies. That being said, at least one more movie needs to be made to finish off the story and answer the questions we are left hanging with. A full movie of Alita finally getting to Zalem to take on Nova is absolutely needed. It would finally provide the payoff for all the build up in the first film.
It’s also a modern action/science fiction movie that isn’t Marvel or Star Wars. It’s not trying to be them either. It manages to feel like something new, and it’s refreshing. Hollywood could certainly use a new franchise that feels different to focus on, and Alita would be perfect for that. Plus, the world could always use more badass female action heroes who aren’t overly sexualized.
The biggest reason Alita: Battle Angel deserves a sequel is how badly people want one. The movie has a massive, loyal fanbase known as the Alita Army who would rush to theaters to see any kind of follow-up film. People (other than the critics) loved Alita, so it would be huge for them to finally see what happens next. Plus, director Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, and stars Rosa Salazar and Christoph Waltz have all expressed interest in returning for a hopeful sequel. Enough people seem to actually want to see Alita get a sequel, but that final decision is up to Fox and Disney.
Alita: Battle Angel is a phenomenal movie. It’s something different and refreshing compared to most other modern blockbusters, it has a massive fanbase who are craving more cybernetic badassery, and the story was left a little too open. It’s time to ignore the snobby critics and give the world the Alita: Battle Angel sequel it demands.