Taika Waititi Reportedly Moving Forward With His Live-Action ‘Akira’ Adaptation: “Sounds Like All His Focus Is On That Project”

Taika Waititi talks to Variety about his failure to care about making Thor: Love and Thunder / Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) recoils after having his arm blown off in Akira (1988), Toho Co. Ltd.
Taika Waititi talks to Variety about his failure to care about making Thor: Love and Thunder / Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) recoils after having his arm blown off in Akira (1988), Toho Co. Ltd.

In a development that, if true, would have both anime fans and general audiences recoiling in horror, a new rumor suggests that infamous director Taika “I’ll Ruin Your Mythos In A Minute” Waititi is moving full steam ahead with his previously announced, live-action cinematic adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s legendary manga Akira.

Kaneda (Mitsuo Iwata) takes aim at a mutating Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) in Akira (1988), Toho Co. Ltd.

Kaneda (Mitsuo Iwata) takes aim at a mutating Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) in Akira (1988), Toho Co. Ltd.

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First tapped to helm the project in 2017, Waititi’s Warner Bros.-produced take on Akira was originally set to release in May 2021 opposite John Wick: Chapter 4 (the latter was eventually moved to 2023 thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on Hollywood’s production schedules), with the director promising that his film would have focused more on honoring Otomo’s original manga rather than its famous animated adaptation.

Kaneda confronts Tetsuo in Akira Vol. 5 (1990), Kodansha. Words and art by Katsuhiro Otomo.

Kaneda confronts Tetsuo in Akira Vol. 5 (1990), Kodansha. Words and art by Katsuhiro Otomo.

“I actually love the books,” Waititi told IGN in 2017 when asked about his involvement with the live-action film. “Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books. And, yeah, so anyway there’s been some chats [about me directing Akira].”

However, before his adaptation could properly fire its engines and move past preliminary casting discussions, Waititi put the entire project on hold in favor of directing his recent disaster, Thor: Love and Thunder (According to sources who allegedly spoke to THR, Waititi’s temporary exit was also prompted by “script development concerns”).

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) split kicks a pair of Booskan speeders in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Marvel Entertainment via Blu-ray

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) split kicks a pair of Booskan speeders in Thor: Love and Thunder (2022), Marvel Entertainment via Blu-ray

But now, after having essentially put a nail into the coffin of Thor’s MCU character, it looks like Waititi is turning his attentions back to Neo-Tokyo.

On April 8th, Deadline senior film reporter Justin Kroll announced via his personal Twitter account that, “Since everyone is wondering where his STAR WARS film is, if I were a betting man my guess is Taika’s next movie is his AKIRA movie at WB, which he put on shelf to do [Love & Thunder].

Justin Kroll provides an update on Taika Waititi's live-action Akira film.

Archive Link Justin Kroll via Twitter

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“He never left the film and word is script should be into studio soon,” he added. “Again nothing set in stone as the film would go through regular process before greenlight including figuring out a budget but sounds like all his focus is on that project.”

Justin Kroll provides an update on Taika Waititi's live-action Akira film.

Archive Link Justin Kroll via Twitter

Despite Kroll’s reporting, as of writing, neither Waititi nor anyone from Warner Bros. has offered official confirmation of the director’s return to the project.

Further, WB’s live-action Akira has also yet to receive an updated release window.

Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) loses control of his abilities in Akira (1988), Toho Co. Ltd.

Tetsuo (Nozomu Sasaki) loses control of his abilities in Akira (1988), Toho Co. Ltd.

NEXT: ‘Time Bandits’ Creator Terry Gilliam Reportedly Extremely Unhappy With Taika Waititi’s Upcoming Apple TV Adaptation: “His Disdain For The Entire Project Was Quite Obvious”

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