The live-action adaptation of Akira finally has a release date, but fans still have a bit of a wait before they’ll get the chance to see the classic Japanese anime on the big screen.
The movie will open on May 21, 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In case you don’t have a calendar nearby, that’s still almost two years away. Although that may seem like a negative, it’s probably good news since it should give director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) plenty of time to get the film just right. Akira has had a long and painful road through development hell to get to this point, so waiting another couple of years probably isn’t going to hurt anyone.
Akira began as a manga in 1982 before being adapted into the 1988 cult-favorite anime film of the same name. Its story takes place in a dystopian Tokyo and centers on a teenage biker gang member named Kaneda, who sets out to rescue his childhood friend and fellow biker, Tetsuo, from the clutches of the authoritarian government after Tetsuo develops powerful psychic abilities.
Part of the trouble with getting a live-action Hollywood version of Akira made has to do with recent casting controversies and worries over white-washing. No one wants a repeat of the PR disaster that befell fellow anime adaptation Ghost in the Shell when that movie cast Scarlett Johansson as its lead. But with Waititi at the helm, it doesn’t look like fans have any cause for concern. The director previously told IGN that he would want to cast Asian actors as the film’s leads, saying in 2017, “Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent.”
With Waititi in charge, no casting controversies in sight, and plenty of time to get the story right, we can honestly say we have our hopes up for the live-action Akira.