Warner Bros. has been developing a live action adaptation of the classic manga Akira for almost two decades now. There have been numerous incarnations of the project, ranging from single film adaptations to two film ones to a trilogy. Every time the studio brings on a new writer and/or director, the project seems to shift its form. I honestly can’t remember how many films the last incarnation had planned, but it appears that WB is back to wanting a trilogy out of the property.
Marco J. Ramirez (“Daredevil“) has been hired by the studio to pen a new script for the project, with an eye on it being the first entry in a three-film adaptation of the manga. Furthermore, reports are coming in that the Brothers Warner have enlisted their golden boy, director Christopher Nolan, to help oversee the project in an executive producing capacity. Some sites are reporting that Nolan might also direct. While anything is possible, given the information at hand, it seems likelier that he was just oversee the trilogy as a producer and have someone else shepherd it from the director’s chair.
The rumor continues on to state that Nolan has met one of the directors previously attached to the project. Nolan isn’t the type to pick the brain of someone who was on a property before he was (unless we’re talking Spielberg, in the case of Interstellar), so it seems likely that he is trying to woo said director back to the film(s). Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), Ruairi Robinson (The Last Days on Mars), and Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan) were three of the most recent filmmakers attached to the film. Odds are that Nolan’s target is one of those three.
Akira was famously adapted into a Japanese animated film in 1988. Word from day one has been that WB’s take on the property will go back to the source manga, however, and not be a remake of the classic anime. I imagine that still holds true, although I wouldn’t be too surprised if some elements from the anime find their way into this mega-adaptation, whenever it finally gets off the ground.
With the project seemingly starting over from scratch once more, we are at least a couple of years away from it jumping to the silver screen. Nolan, even if he isn’t directing (and I doubt he is), has always been one to at least be heavily involved in the development and pre-production of films he is producing, working alongside the director and stepping away only when the film goes into actual production. That’s what he did on Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and that’s likely what he will repeat here. WB might simply want his name on the films to help sell them, but Nolan isn’t the type to let them just slap his name on the posters and trailers and not be involved.
One thing does appear certain, however: this is not Christopher Nolan’s Untitled 2017 Project. That film, based on the information at hand and rumors floating about, is very likely an original project. That said, it’s entirely possible that Nolan does follow up said project with this three film adaptation of Akira. More likely, however, is that Nolan struck a deal to produce and oversee an Akira trilogy for WB in exchange for carte blanche on his next few projects.