The recent news that Scarlett Johansson is interested in starring in a live-action version of science fiction anime Ghost in the Shell got fans around the world excited earlier this week. But while the actress sounds ready to step in front of the cameras as cybernetic public security officer Motoko Kusanagi, the project itself is yet to be greenlit, odds are you’re still a couple of years away from being able to buy your tickets (provided the film avoids the common fate of would-be Hollywood anime adaptations that never make it off the ground).
There is one sure thing Ghost in the Shell fans can look forward to in the near future though: a new anime movie in the franchise, which is set to open in 2015.
Ghost in the Shell has gone through several forms since its beginning as a manga penned by Masamune Shirow. It first made the leap to animation in 1995 with a film directed by Mamoru Oshii, who also helmed follow-up Innocence in 2004. Between the two releases, director Kenji Kamiyama launched the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex TV series, which got a theatrical feature of its own in 2006.
The most recent iteration of the franchise is Ghost in the Shell: Arise, a direct-to-video prequel/reboot that also had each of its four episodes briefly screened in theaters prior to their physical releases. Soon, though, fans will get to see the fourth Ghost in the Shell anime specifically designed for the big screen. A teaser trailer for the Ghost in the Shell: New Theatrical Feature has recently been released, and it promises the film will open in early summer of 2015.
The new film, which is set in the same continuity as the Arise branch of the franchise, promises to reveal the secrets of the formation of the series’ central Public Security Section 9, as well as the birth of Kusanagi herself.
▼ It looks like she comes from a big family.
Although it’s actually been 26 years since the first issue of Ghost in the Shell was published, the movie is being billed as part of the franchise’s 25th anniversary celebration. Regarding the longevity of his creation, Shirow said:
“25 years ago, I had no idea Ghost in the Shell would last so long and go on such a long journey. I’m thankful to everyone who’s been a part of it, and I hope that, just as the existing works have been, the new feature will be something that many people can enjoy.”
The vocal cast for the film is unchanged from the Arise direct-to-video episodes, with voice actress Maya Sakamoto reprising her role as Kusanagi. Also returning are general director Kazuchika Kise, scriptwriter Tow Ubakata, and composer Cornelius. As always for Ghost in the Shell, animation is being handled by Production I.G.
All of that will help provide just a little familiar stability to the film, which should be a welcome comfort in a series that unflinchingly looks at how advances in technology change the concept of what it means to be human.