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Why Alita: Battle Angel Doesn't Need A Sequel

Though it was only released a few years ago, "Alita: Battle Angel" has already achieved cult status. The movie, which was directed by Robert Rodriguez, follows a cyborg with no memory of her past as she tries to find herself in a post-apocalyptic world. "Alita" scored well with moviegoers, receiving a fairly impressive 92% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. This, of course, has led to plenty of speculation about whether a sequel will ever come down the pike.

The film's financial performance was solid, but it wasn't stupendous, and studios are spending more and more of their money betting on sure things now. Even when you set profit aside, though, there are several other reasons a follow-up may not be all that necessary. Here's why — as much as fans may hate to hear it — "Alita: Battle Angel" doesn't need a sequel.

Most of the character arcs are complete

Even though the film introduces a number of interesting characters, it manages to give most of them a satisfying conclusion by the end of the film. For Alita (Rosa Salazar), the movie's story is really about self-discovery, and that doesn't just mean finding out more about her past. 

When she first wakes up at the beginning of the movie, Alita has no sense of who she is or what her purpose is. By the end of the movie, it's clear that she wants to take on Nova and challenge the strict hierarchy of the world she lives in. She grows substantially over the course of the film, as do many other characters. Dr. Ido (Christoph Waltz) starts the movie alone and comes to embrace his new family, and even characters like Chiren get a chance to redeem themselves by the time the credits roll.

Some origin stories don't need a followup

As it stands, "Alita: Battle Angel" resembles the arc of a superhero story. We meet a superhuman main character, and the movie is largely focused on them finding out how they fit in to the world they're now in. In that sense, Alita's character arc feels complete by the end of the film. Even though she still has a villain to take down, the meat of the emotional story comes through her journey to self-discovery.

That's not to say that a sequel couldn't find plenty of interesting, emotional avenues to pursue. Subsequent movies would likely be less satisfying than this first installment, however. We see Alita become the cyborg she was always meant to be, though she suffers a few key losses in the process. In the end, Alita's story comes to a fulfilling conclusion, regardless of whether there's another big bad out there to stop or not.

A prequel might enrich the world of Alita

Although a sequel to "Alita" might be unnecessary, a prequel could offer plenty of additional detail on the world of the film. As Alita is being rebuilt by Dr. Ido, she begins to recall small fragments of the life she led before she was discovered. In that life, it's clear that Alita was some kind of super soldier, but viewers aren't given a full explanation of where she came from. 

Some of those details could be explored in a sequel through an additional exploration of Alita's memories. Ultimately, though, that information might better be served in a prequel which tells the story of how Alita ended up in the scrap pile Dr. Ido discovered. Although Alita's character arc is done in the present, there's plenty of information to dive into about who she was before her memories were wiped.

Battle Angel tied up most of its loose ends

Very few stories are neat enough to tie up every loose end that they've created as they're being told, but "Alita" gets fairly close. Although there are questions around her battle with Nova and her backstory that still need more resolution, we come away with a fairly full understanding of the world "Alita" is set in, which is no easy feat. 

While a sequel might clarify the few vague story details that still remain, it could also needlessly complicate the fairly clean world that has already been established. In a universe like the one depicted in "Alita," a certain amount of exposition is necessary in order for viewers to fully understand what's happening in the story. In a sequel, though, there's a huge risk of providing too much information. This could result in the franchise getting bogged down by complex lore.

Alita is a story about finding yourself

Although it's easy to compare "Alita" to a superhero story, there's also another natural point of comparison for the film: It's a story about coming of age. "Alita" is a story about a teenager who's trying to find her place in the world, and by the end of the movie, that's exactly what she's done. 

Most other stories in this vein don't have sequels. If you look at "Alita" as a teen movie, you see that the journey she goes on sets her up for whatever comes next. That doesn't necessarily mean that Alita's story is done. After all, every teen movie offers a sense of what could come in the next chapter. The most interesting part of Alita's journey is over, though, because we've watched her grow into a person who is self-assured and ready to take on whatever comes at her. She's come of age, and the rest of her story is better left to the imagination.