Of all the otherworldly sights that came with the release of Alita: Battle Angel’s first trailer, the one aspect that caught everyone’s eye was, well, those enormous eyes on its heroine. Director Robert Rodriguez and producer Jon Landau discussed Alita’s pronounced oculars, and the reasons for their being, in an interview with IGN.

Landau said, “The manga and anime eyes we’ve seen since the 30s and Astro Boy have never been done photorealistically”. The crew wanted to capture that unmistakable aesthetic, especially after seeing James Cameron’s early artwork featuring Alita with those visually arresting eyes. Regardless of the impossibilities, considering CG technology’s advancement at that point in 1999, Landau thought “we have to be the first to bring a manga and anime character to life.”

Reflecting on how the character of Alita has evolved through experimentation, the producer commented that “The eyes are the window to the soul, and we’ve got some big windows to see a lot of the soul within that character”.

In the rest of the interview, the two go on to discuss why producer James Cameron took more of a back seat for this movie, the involvement of Lord of the RingsWETA Workshop, and the heroic nature of Alita.

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I sm a huge fan of the manga, and my thoughts after seeing the trailer for it was that it really looks amazing. It totally manages to capture the spirit of the manga in a terrific way, and the big eyes only help capture it even more 😀


The issue I have with them is they actually don’t resemble what Alita looks like in the actual manga… AT ALL. The eyes make her look strange, rather than the intense eyes posessed by the original Alita.


A lot of comments seem to hate the eyes, but I’m open minded. They don’t seem that bad and thank you for posting the interview.

Elisabeth O'Neill
Elisabeth O'Neill

They were a bit of a shock at first, but we’re warming to them. They really give her the look of an android, something to set her apart from the other characters.