Rumors of the remake have been alive and well for a decade now, but it's never quite gotten off the ground. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. The recent Netflix version of Death Note—the over the top story of a mastermind teenager trying to rule the world with a notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it—is a great example of when a writer and director fail to keep any of the qualities that made the source material compelling in the first place.
What's left isn't just bleak. It's boring. And an Akira remake could very easily veer into the same territory. Like the Los Angeles of Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, Akira's Tokyo is a near-future cyberpunk dystopia overwhelmed by poverty, crime, and massive, brightly lit advertisements. And it's also been hugely influential on multiple genres, helping to sell Western audiences on anime and influencing scifi movies like Inception and The Matrix. The character Eleven from Stranger Things is loosely inspired by the movie. And Kanye West even recreated Akira in miniature for the music video for "Stronger.
When the stakes are that high, it's easy for a director to either veer to far off the mark, or avoid any risks at all.
So far, Taika Waititi hasn't made boring movies. With Thor: Ragnarok, Waititi managed to take a superhero that Marvel had been desperately trying to spin as a Shakespearean linebacker and gave him a funny, technicolor, synth-pop-inspired upgrade. He's a strong candidate for creating a world as overwhelming as the original, plus he's unlikely to take the dumb step of casting white actors as the Japanese teen biker gang protagonists. The only bit of bad news so far: According to Deadline, Waitit's Akira is expected to debut at the same time as John Wick: Chapter 4.
Originally Appeared on GQ