Taika Waititi’s Live-Action Akira Handed May 2021 Release

Taika Waititi, Akira (Anime)

by James White |
Published on

Long seen as one of those truly difficult remakes – one that many people wish wasn't happening at all because A) the source material is a cult classic and B) other examples of the genre being translated to live-action haven't turned out all that well, Akira has been mired in development limbo for years. But after first considering the project back in 2017, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi jumped aboard and Warner Bros. has now officially scheduled a release for May 2021.

Birthed in Manga form in 1982 by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, fuelled by the anti-atomic feeling that pervades Japan, Akira became a sensation. Ôtomo himself wrote and directed the anime version released in 1988 that has since been recognised as one of the all-time great animated movies. Boiled down to its basics, it's the story of Tetsuo, whose government experiment-boosted psychic powers threaten everything, and best pal Kaneda, the biker who has to find a way to help him. (You can read much more about the story's history here.)

Quite what Waititi, producer Leonardo DiCaprio and whoever has final screenplay credit (it's currently attributed to the director and Marco Ramirez) will do to that story (hopefully more an adaptation of the Manga than a straight remake of the movie), whether it'll be planned as one giant release or a hoped-for series of movies, remains to be seen at this point. But in Ragnarok's director we trust: after all, who would've thought his quirk and wit would translate so well to the MCU, and particularly Thor's world?

With a hefty production tax credit (read: money back on the proviso it is in production by October) for shooting in California, the movie will film for 71 days and employ thousands. Warner Bros. has dated it for 21, 2021, which means it'll be up against... John Wick 4. Yup, even with incredible psychic powers, the Akira characters might want to think twice about taking him on.

Keep up to date with all the latest movie news, click here to subscribe to Empire on Great Magazines and have the latest issue delivered to your door every month.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us