Alita: Battle Angel Video Shows How The Manga Was Adapted For The Screen

Alita smiling at Hugo

Alita: Battle Angel came out all the way back in February and we are still waiting for it to arrive on home video in July. While this might seem like a long wait for a home video release, and it certainly is by modern standards, 20th Century Fox has fortunately been giving fans an early look at some of the bonus features we’ll find on the Blu-ray. The latest bonus feature talks about Alita’s journey from manga to big screen blockbuster. Check it out:

You’ve got to love when an adaptation of a beloved property endeavors to stay as true as possible to the source material and recognizing that it is beloved for a reason. For Alita: Battle Angel, director Robert Rodriguez scanned pages from the Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita manga and directly translated some of that into his film. There are some awesome frames in the movie that are ripped straight from the page, showing that this really was a true adaptation.

In this video we see that Alita’s fight with Grewishka was heavily influenced by the manga, with specific shots, such as Alita launching herself at Grewishka and balancing on one hand, looking just like their black and white counterparts. Alita’s look was also adapted right from the manga big eyes and all; a brave choice and one that could have easily landed in the uncanny valley but I think actually worked out really well.

This “From Manga To Screen” bonus feature from the Alita: Battle Angel home video release, provides some really cool insight, not just into how Yukito Kishiro’s 1990-1995 manga series informed the 2019 feature film, but how long that journey of adaptation took. James Cameron was working on the film since the early 2000’s and in this feature we see a reel of really beautiful concept art from 2005 that showed his vision for the film.

I like the idea that the concept art for James Cameron’s Gunnm/Battle Angel Alita adaptation became this legendary thing in the concept art community because of how awesome it was and the talented artists who worked on it. You can see why too, I think fans of Alita: Battle Angel would be happy to have prints of some of it to frame and hang on their walls.

So when the time came to finally make this movie happen, albeit under a different director, the team for Alita: Battle Angel got to look at that old art and keep as much of it as possible for their new designs. In so doing, the final film looks a lot like that old concept art nearly 15 years later.

That’s because director Robert Rodriguez wanted to make a James Cameron film, to make the movie that he wanted to see James Cameron make but that he never got to because of the Avatar sequels. So he collaborated closely with James Cameron and his team. We’ve already heard about James Cameron’s extensive notes on the property, but here we also see how he worked with Cameron’s designers from Avatar to help create the world both as Yukito Kishiro originally drew it and as James Cameron imagined it for the big screen.

You can check out this bonus feature and more when Alita: Battle Angel arrives on Digital July 9 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on July 23. For the dedicated and deep-pocketed fan, there will also be a Collector’s Edition of the movie that includes a 64-page art book and two framed art prints. You can pre-order the Collector's Edition here.

Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all of this year’s biggest movies.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.