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What You Never Noticed About Zapan In Alita: Battle Angel

2019's "Alita: Battle Angel" and the story behind it is quite an interesting case study into how a surefire hit could amount to a relative bomb. After spending years in development limbo, it arrived in theaters prepared to launch a franchise with it. Sadly, its financial struggles prevented such plans from coming to fruition, even though the vast majority of moviegoers and critics alike showered the sci-fi romp with well-earned praise. After all, it showed a fair amount of potential, especially when it comes to fleshing out its setting and the individuals who inhabit it.

Much of the film focuses on the titular cyborg, Alita (Rosa Salazar), and her surrogate father, Dr. Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz), but they're far from alone in the post-apocalyptic Earth of 2563. Their main threat is the cunning and resourceful Vector (Mahershala Ali), who works beneath the true "big bad" of the "Alita" franchise, Nova (Edward Norton). Additionally, Alita and Ido have to contend with Ed Skrein's Zapan — an egotistical cyborg bounty hunter who wastes little time engaging in a feud with the robotic heroine.

Though Zapan may seem like the archetypal, vengeful secondary villain in every action movie ever made, there's more to him than initially meets the eye. Here's one detail about him that you likely never noticed or knew to look for upon viewing "Alita: Battle Angel."

Zapan's bodily homage to his culture

Something that many cited as the defining feature of "Alita: Battle Angel" is the remarkable CGI work that helps many of its characters come to life. It especially worked wonders for Zapan, whose entire body is metallic, aside from his human face and the mohawk haircut that runs along the middle of his head. This design naturally draws the eye to his facial features since he's otherwise a silver, wired-up mass that's too complex to comprehend without an up-close look. Should you manage to get a glimpse at the finer details of his design, you'll notice some pretty neat markings.

As pointed out by Sinfully Cinematic, Zapan's armor includes references to his Mexican roots. Most notably, there's a rendering of the Aztec calendar carved into his back, but the cultural designs don't stop there. All across his chest, shoulders, arms, and more, there are very subtle yet intricate markings that appear best when the light hits them just right, keeping this motif going. These, in particular, aren't so easy to spot during a first, second, or even third viewing, so hitting the pause button or combing through stills online are the easiest avenues to take if you want a better look.

Zapan may be overconfident, brash, and more than a bit narcissistic, but his rank among pop culture's most visually unique cyborgs is difficult to protest.