Skydance Media just announced that they have acquired the rights to make a live action series out of the Sword Art Online light novels and anime. Laeta Kalogridis, who has worked on James Cameron's Avatar and on Shutter Island, will write the pilot episode. Kalogridis is in charge of another upcoming live-action adaptation on an anime: the Alita: Battle Angel movie due out in 2018. Kalogridis is also an executive producer for the series alongside David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross.
Sword Art Online (SAO) began as a wildly popular light novel series by Reki Kawahara. The series has gotten several manga adaptations, an anime adaptation, a video game and an upcoming 2017 animated movie. The series centers on Kirito and his group of friends, who become trapped in an online RPG while beta testing it.
Reki Kawahara gave his blessing for the live action series. "I am excited and moved that Sword Art Online will be adapted into a live action series by the highly respected Skydance Media," he stated. ""I would like to take this opportunity to express my appreciation and gratitude to everyone involved in this project, and to the fans all over the world who have so generously and enthusiastically supported SAO."
Laeta Kalagridis is similarly excited. "For years I have been inspired by the inventive and masterful storytelling of the SAO franchise," she said. "I'm thrilled to get the opportunity to work with such talented partners to bring this cutting-edge yet timeless story to a new format at Skydance."
Skydance Media Cheif Executive David Ellison also weighed in, "At Skydance we are in the business of world-building and SAO is a massive pop-culture phenomenon from which we plan to launch a full-scale and wide-ranging set of live action franchise extensions across our business verticals, beginning with television. We look forward to working alongside Laeta, Reki Kawahara and the teams at KADOKAWA and Aniplex to build out a deeply immersive new universe of SAO in an authentic way that honors its well-established fan base around the globe."
It sounds like the company might be planning to make a movie if the TV series does well. I'm always cautious when it comes to Western live-action anime adaptations as they tend not to be very good, but we'll have to wait and see on this one. What do you think of the news? Do you think Sword Art Online will translate well into live-action?
Read: IBM's Real World Sword Art Online is Being Tested