The Omega Underground is reporting David Scott, the art director of the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Avengers: Infinity War, has reportedly joined the design team for the upcoming live-action Akira film.
Scott actually has a long list of credits, having also worked on films like TRON: Legacy and Jurassic World. As such, fans can have hope that he will create a powerful visual style for the film, which has elements of cyberpunk and body horror.
According to the Screenrant report, Joel Whist is also joining the film. The special effects supervisor has worked on films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The BFG and War of the Planet of the Apes.
The project is currently being led by Scott’s fellow MCU alumus, director Taika Waititi of Thor: Ragnarok. While he is not completely confirmed for the part—indeed, Warner Bros. has not completely confirmed that they are making it—the fact that Scott has joined the team seems to imply that the project is finally coming together after many false starts.
The studio has been working for fifteen years to put the project together, and have gone through various potential directors (such as Jordan Peele and George Miller) and actors (such as Kristen Stewart, Gary Oldman, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Nevertheless, each previous attempt has fallen through.
Akira is set in the futuristic dystopia of Neo-Tokyo in the year 2019. (Admittedly that seemed more futuristic in 1982, when the manga began.) It tells the story of Kaneda, a gang leader whose best friend, Tetsuo, gains psychic powers and is subsequently taken away by the government. Kaneda tries to get him back with the help of Kei, a member of the resistance movement, but things get complicated when Tetsuo begins to use his psychic powers for his own dark and violent purposes.
The story was adapted to an animated film in 1988, which became of the first big anime hits in the West. The story changed a lot from the manga (including reducing the role of the titular Akira), despite being made by the writer, Katsuhiro Otomo.
Waititi has mentioned that if he makes the film, he will choose to adapt parts of the story that the anime did not. He also mentioned that he would likely cast Asian actors, avoiding the whitewashing controversies of other anime adaptations.