‘Attack on Titan’ Loses Star Director, Fans Campaign for Replacement

in Entertainment, Movies

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Credit: ITM

The art of cinema has inspired over a century’s worth of artists to create cultural-defining stories through various platforms. Even though live-action film projects have dominated the entertainment industry, animation has evolved to rival it. So much so that many animated classics have been receiving live-action adaptations. Now, one of the most acclaimed animated series ever has lost its director as Warner Bros. scrambles to find a replacement. Yet, a passionate fanbase has started fan campaigns to let the studio know who should helm Attack on Titan.

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Credit: Wit Studio

American or Western-style animation has traditionally been marketed to children and families since its inception. Companies like Disney and Warner Bros. found massive success in constructing animated properties geared to underage audiences. Even though the American film industry has expanded its demographic through more adult themes and complex storytelling in the last 30 years, like Invincible, The Venture Bros., Castlevania, and Rick and Morty, Japanese animation pioneered this elevated form of storytelling years beforehand.

Rick and Morty show
Credit: Adult Swim

Attack on Titan is based on the celebrated Japanese comic book series (AKA manga) that debuted in 2009. It became a massive triumph due to its rich mythology and intricate artwork. It would become one of the best-selling mangas in history with over 120 million copies sold, surpassing other major franchises like “Naruto” and “Bleach.”

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Credit: Kodansha

It was soon adapted into a Japanese TV animation style known as ‘anime’ in 2013. The story of Attack on Titan exists within a dystopic future where humanity is on the verge of extinction due to a massive horde of crazed humanoid giants called Titans. The last civilization has managed to survive their onslaught by building enormous walls around the city.

attack-on-titan
Credit: Wit Studio

A devout, young warrior named Eren Yeagar soon joins the military division responsible for protecting its citizens from these killer colossuses. He will soon uncover a potential solution to defeat their oppressors once and for all, but realizes his cause and his enemies are more than meets the eye.

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Credit: Wit Studio

As the animated show aired its series finale today, Attack on Titan has finished with numerous accolades. It was ranked in IMDB’s top 100 TV shows with the likes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Succession. It was also ranked as the most watching animated series of 2022-2023 with the uncommon rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. Its international fandom prompted Warner Bros. to acquire the live-action film rights to the beloved franchise.

game of thrones cast
Credit: HBO

Due its popularity, a 2015 Japanese live-action adaptation was made, but failed miserably. Its unfortunate blunder reinforced to devotees that not even Hollywood should adapt this anime franchise. These criticisms have carried validity since many anime adaptations have consistently bombed with audiences. This is evident with American live-action adaptations like The Last Airbender, Dragonball Evolution, Death Note, and Ghost in the Shell. Since most of these properties are global phenomena, honoring its source material was paramount to fans.

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Credit: 20th Century Studios

One of the biggest criticisms aside from its loose interpretations, has been Hollywood’s tendency to cast primarily Caucasian actors to play Asian roles. These “whitewashing” missteps fueled the bad buzz leading to these box office bombs. Even though Netflix has attempted to course correct this prevalent trope with hits like One Piece and soon Avatar: The Last Airbender, most devoted supporters are skeptical of American film studios making live-action animes. Even so, Warner Bros. felt the franchise was too profitable to skip.

Netflix's live-action 'One Piece,' featuring Luffy, Nami, and Zoro.
Credit: Netflix

Warner Bros. has chosen to invest many of their biggest properties to veteran Argentine director, Andy Muschietti. The talented filmmaker was a protégé to Guillermo Del Toro who funded his breakout film, Mama (2013), after loving the short film. Muschietti embraced his horror storytelling roots when he was picked to helm the remake of Stephen King’s iconic monster, Pennywise, with the It franchise. Both movies went on to be one of the highest grossing horror films ever for the studio.

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Credit: Warner Bros.

This success led to a transition from one horror show to the other with The Flash (2023). Despite its monumental failure with critics and fans, DC Studios co-chief, James Gunn, still elected Muschietti to direct the new Batman: The Brave and The Bold movie.  Yet, before being awarded this renowned franchise, he was hired by Warner Bros. to develop a live-action Attack on Titan. It has now been confirmed that Muschietti has officially stepped away from the project.

Batman and Damian Wayne working together
Credit: DC Comics

This delay has coincided with the anime’s series finale. Attack on Titan‘s notoriety has reached its crescendo as many fans want to see the franchise continue in another medium. As the news spreads that Muschietti is no longer directing, fans have been spamming the internet with their fan casting for the perfect filmmaker to bring this mythology to life.

Many fans have campaigned for other directing legends like Guillermo Del Toro, Sam Raimi or Denis Villeneueve. Yet, the most overwhelming and certainly the most divisive choice has been Zack Snyder. Well it is unlikely that Snyder will take on the hit series due to his contract with Netflix, the other listed filmmakers could be just what this adaptation needs in the future.

What do you think of the fans’ choices? Who do you think should direct Attack on Titan?

in Entertainment, Movies

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