Ghost in the Shell isn't just the latest opportunity for Scarlett Johansson to be a kickass action star, it's also the first big screen, live action adaptation of one of Japan's most popular media franchises. The film's source material began as a manga which has gone on to spawn anime films, TV shows, video games — you name it. So with the success the franchise has had in other media, a Ghost in the Shell sequel has got to be in the works... right?
For anyone hoping to revisit the film's cyberpunk landscape and see Johansson take another turn as The Major... you'll likely have to wait a while before learning if the film will receive a sequel or not. While the movie itself certainly leaves the door open for a continuation of the franchise, director Rupert Sanders says that's not the plan — though he's definitely not ruling out a part two. "We were like, 'God, if people like it and we have to make another one, where do we go?'" Sanders told Collider's Steve Weintraub in December. "This film isn’t waiting for a sequel, it’s its own beautiful thing, and if we are lucky enough to make another… it’s not like we killed her at the end."
It doesn't sound like Sanders is super invested in the idea of a sequel, but if the franchise does end up continuing, it will have plenty of material from which to draw its inspiration. The film, while technically based on the original manga, is also hugely influenced by the original 1995 anime film of the same name — even going so far as to replicate several scenes directly. So knowing that that anime film was an inspiration, it's not crazy to think that a live action sequel could follow the plot of the anime film's sequel: Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.
Since Innocence doesn't feature The Major as the main character, and since a live action sequel certainly would, a lot of the material would have to be changed, but elements of the plot — which revolves around pleasure robots revolting against their owners, a concept that has already proven popular of late with Westworld's success — would no doubt remain intact.
There's no definitive answer yet as to whether or not Ghost in the Shell will get a sequel, but if it does, there's already a template in place for what one could look like thanks to the anime franchise.