Alita: Battle Angel was a 2019 American cyberpunk action film based on the 1990s Japanese manga series Gunnm by Yukito Kishiro. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, the film starred Rosa Salazar as the titular character Alita, an amnesiac cyborg who sets out to uncover her mysterious past.
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Despite mixed reviews, Alita: Battle Angel was a moderate box office success, grossing over $400 million worldwide against a budget of $170–200 million. Shortly after its release, producer Jon Landau confirmed that early plans for Alita sequels were already being discussed. Fans have been eagerly awaiting news on a follow-up film ever since.
Currently, there is no official release date set for Alita: Battle Angel 2. The COVID-19 pandemic likely disrupted any initial plans for the sequel. With Avatar 2 finally completed and set for release in December 2022, Cameron and his team can now shift focus to Alita.
In an interview with Collider in 2021, Salazar speculated that 2023 would be the earliest we see any firm details on the sequel, with the movie releasing 1-2 years after that. Based on this, the optimistic prediction seems to be a 2024-2025 release window for Alita 2.
However, Cameron is known for his lengthy development timelines. Over a decade passed between Avatar and its long-awaited sequel. Alita 2 entering production in 2023 and releasing in 2025 would be an ambitious goal by Cameron’s standards. Many industry insiders believe 2026 or even 2027 is more realistic.
As of October 2023, Alita: Battle Angel 2 has not begun active production. No filming dates or locations have been set.
In an April 2022 interview, producer Jon Landau confirmed that Cameron has completed an Alita sequel storyline treatment. This means the basic narrative has been mapped out, but a full script likely has yet to be written.
Casting details are also unclear. While Rosa Salazar is expected to return in the lead role, no other cast members are confirmed. New and returning characters will depend heavily on the new story.
Based on the slow pace of development so far, it seems likely that Alita 2 will not begin shooting until late 2024 at the very earliest. Until Cameron and his team are done with press and promotional tours for Avatar 2, plot and casting details for Alita: Battle Angel 2 will probably remain heavily guarded secrets.
Part of what made the original Alita: Battle Angel so visually groundbreaking was the technology used to create the cyberpunk world of Iron City and bring Alita herself to life. Fans are excited to see what new technological innovations could be utilized to make the sequel even more spectacular.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, producer Jon Landau hinted that techniques used for Avatar could also be used for Alita 2:
We learned a lot of lessons from Alita, [like] how we capture performance, how we create performance in a CG world. Those were all things that fed into the Avatar films and will now feed back into future Alita films.
This likely refers to advancements in photorealistic CGI and performance capture technology pioneered during the making of the Avatar sequels. Actors like Salazar could portray increasingly nuanced emotions on screen through their digital avatars.
3D and High Frame Rates
Alita: Battle Angel featured several visually stunning scenes in 3D. This was particularly effective during the Motorball action sequences. Cameron has been a longtime proponent of 3D filmmaking and high frame rates (HFR) like 48 or 60 fps to make action scenes more immersive. In an interview with Collider, the director expressed interest in utilizing 3D and HFR for the Alita sequel.
I think Alita 2, given the amount of action, frankly you could argue even more 3D friendly than the first film. I’d love to see it in high frame rate 3D, that would be my wish.
Advancements in 3D and HFR could provide an even more thrilling and vivid Motorball viewing experience.
Underwater Motion Capture
In an interview with TheWrap, Jon Landau revealed that underwater motion capture was developed for Avatar 2. This technology could allow large-scale underwater scenes to be filmed in performance capture and then translated to a photorealistic CGI environment.
We did underwater motion capture for the first time ever for Avatar 2. That’s something we couldn’t have done on the first Alita and hopefully we will do for Alita 2.
Underwater scenes involving Alita and cyborg characters could be filmed without the need for expensive dry-for-wet sets. This could open up creative possibilities for action sequences set beneath the surface.
Story and New Characters
James Cameron has already begun mapping out the narrative for Alita: Battle Angel’s sequel. In an interview with Empire magazine, he revealed having treatments for up to four more films:
I have actually worked out four stories which fold into a saga across five films. I haven’t presented them in writing. I did it just verbally to Robert [Rodriguez] and Jon [Landau], just so they know generally where we might go next, should we be fortunate enough to make another one. Which, knock wood, we will.
While plot details are still secret, here are some possible story elements and new characters we could see in Alita 2 based on the manga source material:
- More of Alita’s mysterious history and past revealed
- Introduction of Jeru, religious leader of Tiphares
- Return of villain Grewishka
- Expanded role for Nova, main antagonist
- Alita explores more of the satellite city Tiphares
- More background on the Fall, the apocalyptic event 300 years ago
- Expanded role for Figure Four, ally to Alita
- Introduction of Zapan, rival Warrior-hunter
Cameron has plenty of rich source material to draw from. But as with the first film, he will likely adapt the manga’s sprawling epic storyline into his own focused vision for Alita across two or more movies.
While an official release date for Alita: Battle Angel 2 likely won’t be set for some time yet, the sequel does appear to be in active development. Cameron and his creative team have a general story mapped out and are eager to build on the technological achievements of the first film.
Advancements in CGI, performance capture, 3D, and high frame rates could make Alita 2 just as much a visual spectacle as Avatar 2. With underwater motion capture, the action and settings of the sequel have limitless potential.
But the core of any Alita movie will be Rosa Salazar’s captivating performance as the title character. Her emotional journey as she uncovers more of her mysterious past could be the heart of Alita: Battle Angel 2.
While fans may have to wait a few more years, the promise of new characters, new locations, and new technology should make Alita: Battle Angel 2 well worth the wait. James Cameron rarely disappoints with his highly anticipated sequels. All signs point to Battle Angel being no exception.
Frequently Asked Questions
When will Alita: Battle Angel 2 be released?
There is no official release date yet. 2024 or 2025 is optimistic. A 2026 or 2027 release may be more realistic based on typical development timelines for James Cameron sequels.
What new technology will be used?
Advancements in performance capture, 3D, high frame rates, and underwater motion capture developed for the Avatar sequels will likely carry over to Alita 2.
Has filming started?
No, filming has not started yet. The script is still being completed. Casting details are also not yet known.
Will Rosa Salazar return as Alita?
While not yet 100% confirmed, Rosa Salazar is fully expected to return in the lead role of Alita for the sequel.
Will there be more Alita movies after the sequel?
Yes, James Cameron has outlined general story treatments for up to 4 more films. But much will depend on the success of Alita: Battle Angel 2.
The prospects of Alita: Battle Angel 2 becoming a reality grow stronger every year. James Cameron and director Robert Rodriguez remain passionate about revisiting the cyberpunk world and continuing Alita’s story. While fans may need to remain patient a bit longer, the sequel should prove well worth the wait thanks to cutting-edge technology and Camerson’s proven track record with sequels. If all goes as hoped, we could be treated to not just a follow-up film, but an entire Alita saga over the next decade.