Warner Bros. live-action adaptation/remake of the highly influential and incredibly popular Japanese manga/anime Akira stalled out a few months back. The production had cycled several times through core talent, but even after things looked good for new director Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown), the studio just couldn't stomach the sci-fi film's high budget and back into the development abyss it went. Die hard fans of the original material rejoiced, those more open to seeing what a big studio would do with an out-there story about psychic kids and government experiments were no doubt bummed (hey, at least it's not another Transformers movie).
Maybe some day David Hughes will write about what the Akira that almost was would have been like in his next update to The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made, but until then our best insight into the aborted film comes from one of the film's concept artists via io9. Sylvain Despretz (who has worked on dramas like Gladiator to high concept films like Alien Resurrection) put together a handful of storyboards for the film, and though they certainly don't give us an idea of what the actual, live-action visual style would have really looked like, it does give us a glimmer of the film's style, which looks part Blade Runner, part Tron: Legacy, as well as what Kaneda, the film's main lead, would have looked like.
And, as inconsequential as a hair color and style may seem, it's probably that last detail that diehard Akira fans are more than happy to know isn't seeing the light of day any time soon. One of the many reasons fans were dreading the film was because of the white-washing of its Asian roots, so a blonde-haired punk hero with a distinctly non-Asian look is exactly what they were rallying against. But what say you? Are you still glad Akira isn't moving forward or do these few storyboard's make you wonder longingly about what could have been?
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