The Akira Movie Is Still Happening, But Possibly Without Taika Waititi

Akira Shōtarō Kaneda holding gun

Some movies languish in development hell for much longer than others, like Akira, the live-action remake of the same-named 1988 anime film. Ever since it was announced in 2002, the new Akira has been passed around to numerous filmmakers, the most recent one being Taika Waititi. However, due to Waititi tackling Thor: Love and Thunder over at Marvel, that necessitated that Akira once again be delayed.

As things stand now, Taika Waititi has said that Akira is still in development, but he’s not sure if he’ll end up being the one to bring it to life. As he put it when asked for clarification on if Akira might be shelved:

I think eventually it will happen. I’m just not sure if I’ll be doing it.

While speaking with Variety, Taika Waititi, who won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar this past weekend for Jojo Rabbit, confirmed that working on Thor: Love and Thunder, which is set for a November 2021 release, required that Akira be pushed “two years down the track.” When the interview inquired about if Waititi could move back to Akira once Love and Thunder is completed, the filmmaker answered that he’s not even sure what he’ll be doing in “two fucking days.”

We’re coming up on two full decades since Warner Bros put the Akira remake into production, and despite so many setbacks and obstacles, the studio is still determined to move forward with it. When Taika Waititi signed onto the project last May, the plan was to have it come out on May 21, 2021.

Just a few months later though, Thor: Love and Thunder was announced to the world at San Diego Comic-Con, resulting in Akira being taken off the Warner Bros calendar and The Matrix 4 being slotted into that date instead, giving moviegoers a Keanu vs. Keanu clash. Since then, there hasn’t been any update on what the next step is for Akira.

Between Thor: Ragnarok and his time on and off camera on The Mandalorian, Taika Waititi is certainly collecting a lot of blockbuster directing experience, and he’ll keep that going with Thor: Love and Thunder. Provided that Marvel doesn’t want him on Thor 5 or some other MCU project, perhaps he’ll decide that he’s finally ready to set his sights on Akira again.

However, it’s clear Taika Waititi is also interested in still making smaller, more personal movies, as evidenced by Jojo Rabbit and the upcoming Next Goal Wins. So when he’s done with Thor: Love and Thunder, he might want to direct one of these movies again, and if that doesn’t align with the time table the Warner Bros execs have in mind, they’ll look for someone to take his place. Who knows, that could even happen before the fourth Thor movie is released.

Whatever the case, Taika Waititi is the latest in a long time of directors who have signed onto Akira, including Stephen Norrington and Jaume Collett-Serra. Others, like Jordan Peele and George Miller, were offered to opportunity to direct Akira, but turned it down.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the original Akira, which itself was based off a manga series, the movie takes place in the dystopian Neo-Tokyo in 2019, and follows a biker named Shotaro Kaneda who watches as his childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, gains telekinetic powers after a motorcycle accident and gradually becomes a threat to the entire country. Although previous attempts at the remake would have seen white actors playing the characters, Taika Waititi said back when he was still in negotiations to direct that he would cast Asian-American actors as the leads.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more news on how the live-action Akira is coming along. Taika Waititi’s next movie, Next Goal Wins, is expected to come out later this year. You can learn what else is on the way with our 2020 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.