Ghost In The Shell Director Talks About Possible Sequels, Casting Controversies

Next year, Ghost in the Shell will be reintroduced to U.S. audiences in a big ways. The beloved [...]

Next year, Ghost in the Shell will be reintroduced to U.S. audiences in a big ways. The beloved anime and manga has been adapted into a live-action film thanks to Rupert Sanders, and the blockbuster is set to debut in 2017. In the past month, a slew of updates from the set of Ghost in the Shell have come to light, and now the director is addressing whether the franchise will spawn off sequels.

In a recent interview with Collider, Sanders was asked whether he felt Ghost in the Shell would turn into an all-out franchise. The director seemed hesitant to confirm sequels would certainly spin-out, but he did not rule out the possibility.

"I think Scarlett said it, it's not an origin story in a way, it's a birth story, it's about her becoming someone," he said.

"But we were like, "God, if people like it and we have to make another one, where do we go?" So I think the answer to your question is this film isn't waiting for a sequel, it's its own beautiful thing, and if we are lucky enough to make another… it's not like we killed her at the end."

The director also took a moment to talk about the film's casting and the subsequent controversy that came from it. When Paramount confirmed Scarlett Johansson had been cast as Major Motoko Kusanagi, fans were outraged about the whitewashing implications which came with it. The cast and crew of Ghost in the Shell have discussed the issue several times, and Sanders reiterated that the starlet's casting allowed him to hire a more diverse cast overall.

"It's a very international cast and I think that the best of casting her is that I didn't have to cast big name actors around her, I could cast people like Juliette Binoche, Kaori Momoi, and Takeshi Kitano. That's unusual for a Hollywood film, usually it's that you need the star and then you need ten people who can be on the poster, but we didn't have that. So it was great, I was given the freedom to cast the film however I wanted," he said.

Johansson has also commented on the debate, and she said she felt "capable" in her new role. "You know, I think… I don't know if I was the right person, but I think Rupert [Sanders, director] and I shared the same vision for the character," she explained.


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"So I think early on, having the same conversation, it'll be up to the audience to judge if I'm the right person to play this part," Johansson said about her casting. "I do work that I think I can do, and be challenged by, and have a take on. I do work that I feel I have something to contribute to. And I think in this case it was my sympathy for this character's experience that made me feel I was capable to play this role."

Paramount and DreamWorks' live-action feature film adaptation of Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell mange series, starring Scarlett Johansson (Captain America: Civil War), will be released in the U.S. on March 31, 2017.