Robert Rodriguez Explains The Big Surprise Cameo in Alita: Battle Angel

20th Century Fox

Alita: Battle Angel is coming to theaters this month and the highly-anticipated cyberpunk film from director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) promises wonderful visual effects and intense action fans can't wait to see. There's also a big surprise cameo at the end and Robert Rodriguez recently talked about hiring the right actor for the character.

Before we go on, I'm going to share some spoilers below so consider this a warning.


While the Australian actor Jai Courtney makes a random cameo in the film, the biggest reveal is the actor who plays Nova in the film: Edward Norton (The Incredible Hulk, Fight Club, The Illusionist).

Nova is the villainous mastermind behind many of the enemies Alita faces in the film. Nova has the ability to control people's bodies and communicate through them, which explains why we don't see his true face until the end of the film.

Speaking with Digital Spy, Rodriguez explained why Nortan was hired to play the mad genius:

"I tried to find somebody who had a real intelligence to them. We went through a list of people that we could find who were worth bothering to do this, because there's no dialogue or anything. It's really for the setup of, if there was a sequel. We want to put someone here who we would want in a sequel. So it's kind of tough casting to do. We both knew Ed. neither of us had worked with Ed. But Ed's really smart. Like Jim [Cameron], he's very, very smart. I've known him for a number of years. I always thought of him as being similar – not looking so much like Jim, but similar. I can see why they were friends. I can just see them geeking out. So when you put the white hair on, it was like, 'Yeah, he kind of looks like Jim. I think that looks good'. That was pretty funny."

Nortan fits the intelligent role well, and the sequel will most likely feature more of his character. In the manga, Nova clashes with Alita before becoming her ally. Although Nova is a major villain in Yukito Kishiro's manga series, there are other villains that Alita have faced.


Visionary filmmakers James Cameron (Avatar) and Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) create a groundbreaking new heroine in Alita: Battle Angel, an action-packed story of hope, love and empowerment. Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. When Alita awakens she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. Everything is new to Alita, every experience a first. As she learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield Alita from her mysterious past while her street-smart new friend, Hugo (Keean Johnson), offers instead to help trigger her memories. A growing affection develops between the two until deadly forces come after Alita and threaten her newfound relationships. It is then that Alita discovers she has extraordinary fighting abilities that could be used to save the friends and family she's grown to love. Determined to uncover the truth behind her origin, Alita sets out on a journey that will lead her to take on the injustices of this dark, corrupt world, and discover that one young woman can change the world in which she lives.

Alita: Battle Angel is set to release in theaters on February 14.

Related:Alita: Battle Angel BTS Featurette Showcases Amazing Mo-Cap Tech

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