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Live-Action Sword Art Online TV Series in the Works at Skydance

Sword Art Online is an anime franchise that needs no introduction. In tracing its roots back to Reki Kawahara’s novel series, the lucrative property has spawned two TV anime adaptations, a spinoff special along with an upcoming anime film. Beyond that, SAO also spans multiple manga series and games with the latest, Hollow Realization, expected to bow before the year’s end. 

Adding to that bustling slate, Skydance Media has nabbed global rights to a live-action Sword Art Online TV series, recruiting Alita: Battle Angel and Shutter Island scribe Laeta Kalogridis to write the pilot. He’ll hold an executive producer credit on the American series along with David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Marcy Ross.

Not to be confused with animated pic Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale, Skydance Media CEO David Ellison stated: 

“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 Kadowawa 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.”

Set to dive into the titular virtual world, Laeta Kalogridis then expressed his excitement to tackle this “cutting edge yet timeless story.” 

“For years I have been inspired by the inventive and masterful storytelling of the SAO franchise. 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.”

To conicide with the live-action series, Skydance is also fostering a “first-of-its-kind SAO virtual reality experience.” Further details are expected to surface closer to the time. 

Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is the next entry in the video game canon, and it’s slated to debut in Japan on October 27. Bandai Namco is yet to nail down international release plans. 

[Source: Skydance]