Ghost in the Shell has Changed the Name of its Main Character


Scarlett Johansson didn’t play Motoko Kusanagi in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie, at least not according to the latest teaser.

Ghost in the Shell stars Major Motoko Kusanagi, a human consciousness stuck inside a mechanical body (in other words, she’s a “ghost” in a “shell” body. Voila, the title now makes a lot more sense). However, it appears that the live-action remake won’t star the same Major fans have come to know.

Here’s why. With a hat tip to Entertainment Weeklycheck out the latest footage from the movie:

Yup, you can hear the scientist calling our protagonist “Mira” instead of “Motoko.” The casting of Scarlett Johansson has never really gone over that well anyway. Here’s The Verge’s reporting on the film’s director from November of last year. And Slashfilm from June 2016. Granted, the name chance is a relatively minor detail, all told, but it’s a very clear sidestep to try and avoid accusations of whitewashing that they haven’t been able to sidestep since it came out that Scarlett Johansson would be playing the role in the first place.

As Entertainment Weekly reports, original creator Mamoru Oshii seemed to believe she had the character of Motoko, not Mira. Additionally, here’s their quote from producer Steven Paul, originally via BuzzFeed:

"“I don’t think it was just a Japanese story. Ghost in the Shell was a very international story…”"

Will the movie change her surname as well? It seems like an obvious choice, especially if the defense here is that it’s an “international story.” Presumably they’ll keep it to a surname starting with K, as they kept the sound for her first name.

No wonder they’ve also kept calling her just the Major as well, including in the above video’s description; it’s effectively hidden the change until the reveal of this footage.

Next: In the Heights is Becoming a Movie

Ghost in the Shell will stealthily make its way into theaters on March 31.