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What to expect from Ghost in the Shell

The producer of the live-action retelling of a classic anime has revealed what’s in and what’s out

Last month, the first footage from the highly-anticipated Ghost in the Shell film surfaced online. An action-packed trailer hinted at a Matrix-like sci-fi blockbuster for the live-action adaptation of the anime of the same name. And though it’s touted for release in 2017, it hadn’t been made totally clear what’s being adapted from the original. However, the film’s producer has dropped some info on where they’re finding their inspiration for the storyline, as well as what is and isn’t being included from the anime lineage.

The adaptation will follow human-slash-cyborg Major – played by Scarlett Johansson – who’s leading the futuristic anti-terrorist task force Section 9 against an enemy intent on destroying Hanka Robotics’ cyber technology advancements. The film has been met with serious criticism for whitewashing, as Johansson takes on the role of Major.

In an interview with Collider, Avi Arad revealed that the villain wouldn’t be the Puppet Master from the first original film, but Kuze, who pops up in the series Stand Alone Complex 2nd Gig

“We're not doing Puppet Master. It's not Laughing Man. It involves Kuze,” he confirmed. “The big thing we are doing here is that we're not necessarily doing an origins backstory, but we are addressing (lead character the Major)'s sense of self and resolving how she defines herself in terms of memories. That’s one of the main thrusts in the story. Inspired by (the episode) ‘Affection’ in 2nd Gig. It's bits and pieces of those mixed together. 

“Part of the reason we didn't do Puppet Master in this movie was that we didn't really feel like we had time to tell that story. In your first movie, the way the characters feel about themselves and the relationship with those people that they care about is usually more than enough story.”

Despite this, Arad makes it clear that other Ghost in the Shell productions will make appearances in the film. He said: “You’ll recognise some things from Ghost in the Shell: Innocence like the geisha bot. Everything we pulled from the movie is because we thought it was cool. There’s a whole thermoptic sequence with the garbageman. We did that because we thought it was really cool.

“A lot of the time when you see futurist movies either it feels very beautiful and removed and clean or you have to go down a grimy, dystopic world. Rupert (Wyatt, director) was chasing something else that was more similar to the source, where it felt really tactile and tangible.”