'Ghost In The Shell': Which Storylines Will Be Adapted From The Source Material?

So far, much of the conversation surrounding Ghost in the Shell has been about the deeply questionable decision to cast white person Scarlett Johansson to lead an adaptation of a Japanese property. But whether you're on board with that choice or not, the fact remains that this movie is coming out in just a few months. Which means Paramount would like to take this time to remind you that there's more to this film than controversy.

Like, for instance, an actual story. A new report reveals some interesting Ghost in the Shell info, including which storylines and elements they've chosen to bring over from the source material, and now. Get all the latest Ghost in the Shell plot details below. 

First, some basics: Ghost in the Shell, directed by Rupert Sanders, is set in a futuristic world where cybernetic technology has made it possible to copy one's consciousness into an entirely new body. But that also means people are vulnerable to being hijacked — implanted with false memories and the like. Johansson plays a special-ops cyborg who leads an elite task force, Section 9, which is trying to stop a dangerous criminal from wiping out all of Hanka Robotics' advancements in cyber technology.

The film draws from a rich mine of source material. Ghost in the Shell started out as a manga in the 1980s and has since spawned animated films, anime TV shows, video games, and more. So when Collider got the chance to visit the Ghost in the Shell set earlier this year, the question came up of which storylines would be adapted for the film. Producer Avi Arad spilled some details:

We're not doing Puppetmaster. It's not Laughing Man. It involves Kuze. The Kuze story. The big thing we are doing here is that we're not necessarily doing an origins backstory, but we are addressing her sense of self and resolving how she defines herself in terms of memories. That's one of the main thrusts in the story. Inspired by that episode of Affection in 2nd GIG. It's bits and pieces of those mixed together.

2nd GIG is the second season of the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. "Affection" refers to an episode that delves into the Major's history. (Potential spoilers ahead.) In the show, she and Kuze were the only survivors of a plane crash when they were children. They were eventually separated but cross paths again years later, when the Major and Section 9 go up against the Individual Eleven, a terrorist group that Kuze belongs to. (End potential spoilers.) However, it's unclear at this point how the storyline might have changed from the animated series to the live-action movie.

"Affection" won't be the only point of reference for the Ghost in the Shell movie, however. Arad discussed how else the source material helped inform the film:

You'll recognize some things from Ghost in the Shell: Innocence like the geisha bot. A lot of the time when you see futurist movies either it feels very beautiful and removed and clean or you have to go down a grimy, dystopic world. Rupert was chasing something else that was more similar to the source where it felt really tactile and tangible and you had things like cables even though wireless makes more sense. If you look at the original, the guys' hands break off and type. Even in 1995 the idea that if you talked to a computer you'd type really, really fast didn't make sense. That's where we are coming from a lot of the time.

Arad also spoke in more abstract terms about the themes of the story — including what the villains and the central conflict are meant to represent:

The villains in the story are people that are abusing this brave new world. The movie certainly addresses this whole idea of in the future, if you think about everybody's biggest fear around technology is about getting your identity stolen (which is really just your credit record) as opposed someone hacking your brain could happen here. The more technology gets inside of you and the more it's woven into your life the more that people can abuse it. So there are characters, both at a criminal level and a governmental level, who are abusing technology and doing scary things.

Ghost in the Shell opens March 31, 2017. Also starring in the movie are Takeshi KitanoMichael PittPilou AsbækJuliette BinocheKaori MomoiChin HanDanusia SamalYutaka Izumihara, and Tuwanda Manyimo.