Toho Company

After years in development hell, a live-action remake of animé classic "Akira" is finally happening, with "Thor: Ragnarok"'s Taiki Waititi set to direct.

And that means he's dropping out of another project, "Bubbles," which would have been a stop-motion film told from the point of view of Michael Jackson's pet chimpanzee. That's probably just as well.

According to The Wrap, "Akira" now has a release date of May 21, 2021, which puts it head to head with "John Wick 4" and an as-yet-untitled Marvel movie. Which is sort of ironic, as John Wick star Keanu Reeves was once rumored to star as Kenada when Albert Hughes was attached to direct an "Akira" live-action film in 2011.

Waititi’s project was first announced in 2017 before "Thor: Ragnarok," was released. Back in April 2018, he assured fans that his film would be faithful to the books.

"What I wanted to do was an adaptation of the books, because a lot of people are like, ‘Don’t touch that film!’ and I’m like, ‘I’m not remaking the film, I want to go back to the book," Waititi told Dazed. “A lot of the people freaking out haven’t even read the books, and there are six gigantic books to go through. It’s so rich."

Original manga author Katsuhiro Otomo gave his blessing for a live-action remake, as long as he is allowed "to check and approve the scenario," as he told Forbes in 2017.

Manga and animé hated recent live-action remakes of "Death Note" and "Ghost in the Shell," so let's hope "Akira" ends up closer in spirit to the original source.

The film is being produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions and will be released by Warner Bros.

According to The Wrap, Justin Lin, Jaume Collet-Serra and Jordan Peele were among the directors who were approached for the project.

[Via The Wrap, The Verge, Cartoon Brew]