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James Cameron has spent years trying to get his big screen adaptation of the manga Battle Angel Alita off the ground, but the project is finally making significant progress. Now in the hands of director Robert Rodriguez (with Cameron still involved as a producer), Alita: Battle Angel has been assembling its supporting cast over the last couple months to accompany the main star, Rosa Salazar. The latest actor to join the post-apocalyptic insanity is Deadpool star Ed Skrein.
THR announced Skrein's casting earlier today, making him the fourth actor to officially join Alita: Battle Angel following Salazar, Christoph Waltz and Jackie Earle Haley. Just like his turn as Ajax in Deadpool earlier this year, he will be stay in villain territory for this upcoming movie. Skrein will play Zapan, an evil cyborg who has obtained a weapon known as the Damascus blade.
Zapan is one of the main antagonists from the original Battle Angel Alita manga graphic novels, and while we won't provide any major spoilers here about what happened in the source material, suffice it to say he's one of Alita's more powerful adversaries. She questioned his bravery in front of his fellow hunter-warriors, and after she delivered a sound beating to him and the others in a brawl, that's when he grew to hate her. However, it's unclear exactly how much of his backstory from the printed page will be retained for the cinematic tale.
Whatever is in store for Zapan in Alita: Battle Angel, this villainous role will be comfortable territory for Ed Skrein. While his previous credits include playing Dario Naharis on three episodes of Game of Thrones and Frank Martin in The Transporter: Refueled, many moviegoers met him back in February in Deadpool as Ajax. A member of a secret organization (probably Weapon X) incapable of feeling pain, he was responsible for giving Wade Wilson his healing factor (though not before putting the mercenary through indescribable pain) and later kidnapping his girlfriend.
Taking place in the 26th century, Alita: Battle Angel follows the eponymous young cyborg, who awakes one day in a scrapyard with no memory of her past. Fortunately, she's retained her amazing martial arts skills, leading to embark on a career as a bounty hunter. Maze Runner star Rosa Salazar will play the eponymous protagonist, while Christoph Waltz will play Dr. Dyson Ido, the scientist who finds Alita in the scrapyard and soon begins to love her like a daughter. As for Jackie Earle Haley, he will reportedly join Ed Skrein's Japan as a fellow villain, specifically a cyborg that will require a lot of CGI and green-screen effects.
Alita: Battle Angel will begin production in Austin, Texas sometime during October, and is slated to hit theaters on July 20, 2018. Let us know what you think of Ed Skrein joining the movie in the comments below.