Taika Waititi's Live-Action Akira Movie Removed From Warner Bros. Release Schedule

Warner Bros. has taken Taika Waititi’s live-action adaptation of Akira off of its film schedule. The movie had been slated for release on May 21, 2021. It’s been replaced in that spot by The Matrix 4. The film was put on hold after Waititi switched gears to work on Thor: Love and Thunder for Marvel Studios. Akira is an adaptation of the seminal Japanese manga of the same name by artist Katsuhiro Otomo. It was adapted into a critically acclaimed anime feature film directed by Otomo in 1988. A new anime series based on the manga is also in the works, with Otomo at the helm of the project.

Akira is set the city of Neo-Tokyo in a dystopian, cyberpunk future. The fate of Japan was altered by a singularity that destroyed Tokyo. While most of Japan’s citizens believe the source of the destruction to be a mystery, the government knows it was brought on my a child with psionic powers. Years later, with the child hidden in suspended animation in an underground bunker, conflict arises when the government clashes with a rebel group and a young biker gang discovers the truth about the child called Akira.

Warner Bros. has been trying to make an Akira movie since it obtained the rights in 2002 but has had trouble keeping creators attached to the project. At on point, Waititi's take on the film was expected to begin production in August. That date was pushed back due to script rewrites, which may be comforting news to some fans who found the changes revealed in an early synopsis for the film to be disconcerting. In a recent interview, Waititi said that he still wants to make Akira, but that he doesn't want his work on these two big films to detract from one another.

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"Because we were working really hard on the script, we had to keep pushing back the start date for the shoot," Waititi said. "And we ended up having to push it a couple of weeks too far, which actually ate into the Thor schedule. It was very close together. Then it got pushed again, and again. It just got too far into the foreschedule to make it work. So now we had to kind of take Akira, and sort of shift it around to the tail end of Thor, and move it down a couple of years. But yeah, still want to make it."

Thor: Love and Thunder is scheduled for release on November 5, 2021.