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Introducing the characters of Robert Rodriguez manga adaptation Alita: Battle Angel


In February, hit manga series Alita: Battle Angel is finally coming to the big screen after languishing in development hell for years.

The film is based upon Battle Angel Alita (known as Gunnm in Japan), which is a cyberpunk manga comic series that began in 1990 and was created by Yukito Kishiro. It is a hugely popular series, which has already produced a video game and a two-episode TV animation.

The film adaptation was first announced all the way back in 2003 with James Cameron attached, but given that his epic blockbuster Avatar was already in development, Alita was put back on the shelf to be picked up later. 15 years on, it's finally ready for the world to see.

Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, From Dusk till Dawn, Sin City, Machete) is the director, and James Cameron is still on board as co-writer and co-producer – two visual effects specialists who will no doubt do justice to Alita's extraordinary future world. But what about the cast of characters?

Rosa Salazar is Alita

Known for her roles in hit shows Parenthood and American Horror Story: Murder House, as well as dystopian teen films such as The Divergent Series and The Maze Runner, actress Rosa Salazar has experience in dealing with post-apocalyptic, sci-fi worlds.

Alita is our titular cyborg heroine, discovered and restored by a kindly doctor, who then finds out that she has an eventful past that is going to affect not only her present and future but the lives of everyone around her. This cyborg warrior is an expert at martial arts, which makes her extremely powerful.

Christoph Waltz is Doctor Dyson Ido

Oscar winner for his memorable roles in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, Waltz plays Doctor Ido, who discovers Alita and becomes her caretaker. Ido is a cyber-physician specialising in cyborg operations and lives near the scrapyard, which is how he comes to meet Alita.

In the comics, Ido and Alita form a father/daughter relationship, with Ido really caring for Alita. As she starts to discover more about her past and her importance in their post-apocalyptic world, Ido at first tries to protect her from the dangers but then realises how vital Alita is in changing the future.

Jennifer Connelly is Chiren

While she's made many films since (and has won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind), Jennifer Connelly is still best known to many for her role in Jim Henson's 1986 cult fantasy classic Labyrinth with David Bowie, in which she played 15-year-old Sarah.

In Alita: Battle Angel, Connelly portrays Chiren, Ido's ex-girlfriend. Chiren and Ido escaped society in search for a new beginning, but something broke them apart. Chiren could be helpful in Alita's road to finding out the truth about her past.

Mahershala Ali is Vector

Mahershala Ali, the Oscar-winning star of Moonlight, not to mention the latest series of True Detective and upcoming Golden Globe contender Green Book, plays one of the villains in Alita: Battle Angel.

In the comics Vector is a scrapyard resident, who trades in illegal human body parts within the floating futuristic metropolis of Tiphares. With the wonderfully talented Ali playing this role, Vector is set to be an exciting character in the film.

Ed Skrein is Zapan

Zapan is a powerful and huge cyborg charged with the task of finding Alita and destroying her. There's a bitter rivalry between Zapan and Alita, mostly due to Zapan turning bitter over a disagreement between him and Alita years ago. Skrein is used to playing the bad guy – you will no doubt recognise him as Deadpool's arch-enemy Francis in the first Deadpool movie.

Keean Johnson is Hugo

Alita's love interest is human Hugo, who is played by Keean Johnson. Hugo is an orphan who is raised by his brother, but flees home and works within the scrapyard. This is where Alita and Hugo meet and at first become friends, but this later develops into a romantic attachment.

Michelle Rodriguez is Gelda

Known for her roles in Cameron's very own Avatar, The Fast and the Furious franchise and this year's acclaimed heist thriller Widows, Michelle Rodriguez plays Gelda, a fellow cyborg who trains Alita as a warrior.

Don't miss Alita: Battle Angel when it arrives in Cineworld on 6th February 2019.

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.