‘Luke Cage’ Star Mahershala Ali in Talks for James Cameron-Produced ‘Alita: Battle Angel’

The sci-fi movie is directed by Robert Rodriguez

Mahershala Ali Wrap Luke Cage
Photographed by William Callan for TheWrap

Netflix’s “Luke Cage” villain Mahershala Ali, also a star in the acclaimed upcoming dramatic film “Moonlight,” is in discussions to join the cast of 20th Century Fox’s “Alita: Battle Angel,” TheWrap has learned.

James Cameron is producing via his Lightstorm Entertainment partner Jon Landau. Robert Rodriguez (“Sin City”) is both directing and producing.

Already signed on to the cast are Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jackie Earl Haley, Ed Skrein and Keann Johnson.

A manga graphic novel adaptation about a female cyborg (Salazar) discovered in a scrapyard by a scientist in the 26th century, the film is a Cameron project that’s been in the works for a while.

Equipped with lethal martial arts skills, the cyborg becomes a bounty hunter.

As he does on the instantly popular Netflix series “Luke Cage,” which debuted late last week, Ali will play a villain in the film — a man named Vector who runs Thunderdome-esque game called Motorball.

On the Netflix show, the actor — also known for his role as Remy in “House of Cards” — plays the nefarious club-owning Cottonmouth.

“You want entertainment in general, every aspect of it, to be more of a reflection of the diverse world that we live in,” Ali told TheWrap during a recent interview when asked about the predominantly black cast in “Luke Cage.” “Cultures and races are mixing in a very organic way in the world, and that should 
be reflected in film and television.”

Ali also appears in the upcoming Fox drama “Hidden Figures,” about a group of black women who worked for NASA in the early days of the space program.

Ali is represented by WME.