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Battle Angel producer reveals how fans can make sequel happen

Fans of Alita: Battle Angel want a sequel — and one of the flick's producers wants them to keep on asking for one.

Jon Landau, who worked on the 2019 sci-fi actioner, has gone public with words of encouragement for fans who have racked up over 120,000 signatures on a petition asking for a continuation of the story. His advice: keep it up. (via CinemaBlend)

Alita: Battle Angel, which was directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-produced by James Cameron, was one of the last major films released by Fox Studios before its acquisition by Disney in April 2019. It was based on the iconic manga Battle Angel Alita, a property which had been considered ripe for adaptation into a feature film for quite some time. The flick had languished in that lovely corner of Tinseltown known as Development Hell for years, with Cameron stating his intention to direct the picture as far back as 2003. Rodriguez, initially brought in to shore up the screenplay, ended up taking over as director, bringing his signature kinetic visual style; fans who had been waiting forever for the movie were generally pleased with the finished product, although Alita was not a roaring financial success.

The $170 million dollar picture ended its theatrical run with a $405 million dollar worldwide gross, the vast majority of which came from overseas markets. This total wasn't terrible, but it also wasn't great — and since the House of Mouse has taken over stewardship of the property, there has been deafening radio silence on the prospect of Alita 2.

The fact that there now exists a petition with tens of thousands of signatures asking for a sequel just might make Mickey perk up his ears, however. According to Landau, the best thing fans can do to encourage the studio to consider the possibility is to keep on loudly proclaiming their desire to see it happen.

"What I think the Alita Army should do is keep peppering our family, now at Disney and [let them know] how important it is to have another Alita movie," the producer said. "Hopefully we'll venture there one day."

How long would it take to make Alita: Battle Angel 2?

Alita may not have set the domestic box office on fire, but that isn't the fault of the filmmakers, because it was a pretty damn good flick. Rosa Salazar was amazing in the title role (even if those eyes took a bit of getting used to), and her performance was bolstered by an incredible supporting cast which included the likes of Christoph Waltz, Mahershala Ali, Jennifer Connolly, Ed Skrein, and Jackie Earle Haley. Rodriguez' direction was as crisp as ever, and despite a few problems at the screenplay level, the movie delivered as pure popcorn-munching entertainment.

The fact that the Alita 2 petition has snowballed like it has suggests that the movie has grown its fan base considerably since being released to home video, and with Disney's deep pockets, it's safe to say that taking a chance on a continuation is in no way out of the question. Landau, however, cautioned that fans will have to be more than simply diligent in expressing their burning need for Alita 2; they'll also have to patient, which frankly shouldn't be a problem considering the first film's long road to the screen.

This is because, even if the sequel were to be greenlit tomorrow, CGI-heavy blockbusters typically have a very lengthy time frame for production. Taking into account that there isn't even a screenplay in the works yet, the producer says that it would almost certainly be two to three years after receiving the green light before Alita 2 would hit the screen.

"I think when you can talk about any movie, and I won't talk specifically about Alita, but your first step is writing a script," he said. "You've got to assume that's going to take you 12 to 18 months to write a script. Assuming that script is great, you then have a six to 10 month pre-production. You then have a six month shoot. You then have a year of post-production, and that's just any movie of this ilk."

Fortunately, there is just a sliver of a silver lining: during the years and years that the first film was in development under Cameron, the producer/director had a heck of a lot of ideas as to where the story could go after the first movie.

"When Jim [Cameron] was going to direct us, which he was at one point, in his mind he had plotted out two additional stories of where we would go very specifically," Landau offered. This means that, at the very least, whomever would be tasked with writing the script for an Alita sequel wouldn't have to start completely from scratch.

Landau also suggested that, with the Disney+ streamer debuting to much fanfare last month, there may even be potential avenues other than theatrical release for a sequel to Alita (although he went out of his way to clarify that he was not speaking specifically about such a project). "I would just tell you that I think Jim [Cameron] and I love the opportunities that streaming and these other avenues of distribution are offering people today," he said. "And you know, we would love to get into those playgrounds and play in them, no matter what the title is."

Landau's remarks are pretty encouraging, but only time will tell if ol' Mickey will indeed deign to give us a sequel to one of the more underrated sci-fi flicks of 2019. If he does, we humbly suggest not involving Cameron this time, as he will be busy cranking out Avatar sequels until the heat death of the universe.