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Ghost in the Shell isn’t going to be an origin story

Will include content from anime series, movies and manga

Scarlett Johansson Ghost in the Shell Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures’ controversial adaptation of popular manga-turned-anime Ghost in the Shell is six months away from being released and producer Avi Arad has shared some more details on what fans can expect.

Arad told Collider the biggest takeaway from the adaptation audiences will see is that it won’t be an origin story. Arad said they wanted to spend more time focusing on how The Major (Scarlett Johansson), a human-cyborg hybrid in charge of a top-tier task force, defines herself by her memories. To do so, Arad said they’re going to ignore the Puppetmaster and Laughing Man, focusing more on the Kuze story and taking much of its influence from Affection in Second Gig.

“Ghost hacking is a big storyline in the movie and in some ways we take it even further,” Arad said. “This idea of if someone could change your memories, what would that do to your sense of self?”

Arad added that they’re taking quite a bit of cues from the second Ghost in the Shell movie, Innocence. The producer said that when sci-fi movies are made, they tend to either focus on a utopian or dystopian setting, and director Rupert Sanders wanted to create something different. Instead of feeling fragile or too good to be true, Ghost in the Shell will create a futuristic society that feels tangible.

“What was interesting about Ghost in the Shell is that it was never really a predictive future,” Arad said. “It was more about a future that was meant to provoke a feeling in the audience and that’s guided design as much as if we were to hire a bunch of engineers and physicists and futurists to predict things. That’s the same kind of philosophy in this movie.”

Arad said they want to stick close to the source material, but are going to pick and choose what elements they want to include in the movie. Focusing on villains and monsters doesn’t make sense for the first film, Arad said, because people don’t have enough of an attachment to The Major for that to be an emotional arc.

Arad also didn’t offer any comment on the criticism the film has received over Johansson’s casting. When it was announced that she would lead the film, the film received backlash for whitewashing the movie, with many critics calling for Johansson to be replaced by a Japanese actor.

Ghost in the Shell is slated to be released March 31, 2017.

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