Warning: spoilers head for the ending of Alita: Battle Angel. If you were left confused by the ending of Alita: Battle Angel, you’re definitely not alone. The movie didn’t provide closure so much as it clearly set up a potential Alita: Battle Angel sequel to tie up all the loose threads still left dangling by the time the credits roll on James Cameron and Robert Rodriguez’s steampunk sci-fi epic. But will a second movie even happen, and if so, when would an Alita sequel be released?
As of now, there are no confirmed plans for a second film, although the filmmakers have hinted at plans to expand it into a saga. It all depends on the box office success of Alita: Battle Angel. However, considering the 20-year process of bringing the adaptation of Yukito Kishiro's manga series Gunnm to life, Cameron might not be up for another uphill battle of developing another movie set in this universe. Alita: Battle Angel was a passion project of Cameron’s for two decades, inspired by his daughter who was seven years old when he first began to develop the film. But due to his involvement with Avatar and all its planned sequels, the movie didn’t hit theaters until Valentine’s Day 2019.
If Alita: Battle Angel is greenlit for a sequel, the second movie should pick up right where the first left off as if no time had passed, in the same style of Incredibles 2. The final scene of the movie saw amnesiac cyborg from Mars Alita (Rosa Salazar) gearing up for her final Motorball competition. If she won the big rollerblading battle game, she would become the No. 1 champion, earning her ascension into the final sky city of Zalem. She was committed to finally entering the utopian floating city to get her revenge on the mysterious scientist Nova (played by Edward Norton in a surprise, silent cameo) and learning the rest of her history as a Berserker warrior.
Throughout the movie, it was revealed that Nova was watching over Alita and controlling everyone around her by transferring his consciousness into his underlings like Vector (Mahershala Ali) and Chiren (Jennifer Connelly). He knew more about her past as a 300-year-old warrior cyborg than anyone else. He also was responsible for the attack on Alita’s love Hugo (Keean Johnson), who had just become a cyborg himself and seemingly fell to his death after he tried to climb his way up to Zalem.
While it looked like Hugo died after his fall, since he was now a cyborg, it’s possible he survived. He could have been saved and upgraded to another cyborg’s body. His surprise return in a potential sequel would be a huge romantic moment for Alita, and would give the long-awaited payoff fans didn’t get in this film (though it should be noted, this is not what happens in the comics). Plus, Hugo still needs to get his revenge on Nova for facilitating the attack that forced him to become a cyborg in the first place.
What’s perhaps most interesting about the story of a potential sequel for Alita: Battle Angel is the the complicated relationship Alita has with Nova in the original source material. In the manga series, while Nova starts as Alita’s enemy, they eventually become allies.
Now that would be a twist for the ages if a second movie follows that story. Hopefully Cameron is up for a sequel so audiences can see what happens next with Alita and Nova. There’s clearly so much more going on here than what initially meets the eye.