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While the prospect of Alita: Battle Angel getting a sequel is not a certainty, or even a likely concern at this point, that hasn’t stopped a vocal group of fans from hoping another adventure could be on the way. There’s certainly room for a franchise too, as this was supposed to be the first of a trilogy based on Yukito Kishiro’s classic manga series, Gunnm.
It looks like it’d take a lot of wheeling and dealing to get a sequel back on the table, but should Alita: Battle Angel return for another adventure, lead animator Mike Cozens has an idea of what he’d love to tackle first in resurrecting the world of the battle angel herself:
I guess the thing that I see in future films, and would love to be a part of, is playing not only more of that beautiful drama, but taking that warrior and carrying it on into future films and kicking some more butt.
Mike Cozens revealed this information in a recent interview with CinemaBlend, in honor of the home video release of Alita: Battle Angel, set to take place next week. In talking about the first movie's story, which saw actor Rosa Salazar portray Alita’s shift from a young innocent into a hardened warrior; it’s that shift that Mike Cozens really enjoyed seeing take place as director Robert Rodriguez’s film progressed.
Part of the reason Mike Cozens identified with this part of the story is that he partially identified with Alita’s journey, because he saw pieces of his teenage daughter in the character. While it’s doubtful that his teenage daughter is being trained in the ways of Panzer Kunst, the early journey of Alita: Battle Angel’s protagonist and her developing understanding of the world around her is something that any parent, or any person for that matter, could identify with.
That empathy is something that you see in every frame of Alita’s creation and existence, and by time Alita: Battle Angel’s plot shapes her into the avenging angel she is in those final frames, you can feel the pain that she’s carrying being displayed clear as day on the screen.
It’s the balance between the film’s emotional moments that take in the wonder of the world, and those action beats that get the audiences’ blood racing, that make Alita: Battle Angel such a rewarding experience for Mike Cozens. This, coming from a man who’s worked with Weta Digital on such films as Avatar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and The Hobbit trilogy, is a pretty high level of praise. Though he and his team have gotten some big praise themselves, as even Robert Rodriguez can’t stop talking about their work when asked about a potential follow up.
In a possible sequel to Alita: Battle Angel, those early days of Alita falling in love with chocolate and romancing Hugo in-between Motorball matches will be long gone. With her quest to become a champion of that very futuristic sport, as well as settling her grudge with Edward Norton’s Nova, there’s not going to be a lot of time for tender moments in a second movie.
But much as the more personal scenes require a lot of attention to detail, those moments where villains succumb to Alita’s warrior abilities are just as important to nail. And it’s the transition between those two halves that really excites Mike Cozens, even if the ass-kicking is what he’s looking forward to the most in a potential sequel.
Talking with Mike Cozens about the level of detail that went into everything from the movements of Alita’s character, to even the facial models required to properly animate Rosa Salazar’s motion captured performance, was an absolute treat after seeing the final product itself. Alita: Battle Angel avoids the problems most CGI films have with an “uncanny valley” by steering straight into the anime/manga influences of the film’s source material, and that’s just on the first time out.
With an upgraded robot body, tons of combat experience, and a confidence in herself that she didn’t have when she started, Alita is a character that’s ready for another go at the big time. A sequel to Alita: Battle Angel could be even more of an explosive success, especially with the evolution of technologies like motion capture still taking place to this day.
So not only would a sequel allow audiences the ability to see Mike Cozens and his team animating Alita’s continued adventures in humanity, but another film could show us some of the most visually stunning ass kicking in some time.