Guillermo del Toro is Making a Non-Ninja Movie With J.J. Abrams!

Ninja... Ninja... WRAP

It’s become a bit of a running joke that everybody’s favorite Guillermo1 loves to sign on to a ton of projects, whether they be movies, TV shows or even games, few of which actually see the light of day (I’m looking at you, At the Mountains of Madness). So, any news of a new Guillermo del Toro movie in development absolutely has to be accompanied with a disclaimer: this thing might be, in the words of friend of the site Sean Huckel, “5-to-Never years away.”

So, with the legally mandated amount of cautious optimism, I announce to you that Guillermo del Toro has a new action film in the works through J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot. Here are the details, such as they are, courtesy of Collider:

Plot details remain under wraps, but sources say that Zanbato centers around a young girl (between 10-15) with lethal fighting skills — think Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass or the title character in Alita: Battle Angel. Our sources initially described the character as a “ninja,” but del Toro himself took to Twitter to clarify that the protagonist is not a ninja. It’s an idea he’s been working on for years though it has never come to light until now.

I’m generally suspicious of the “killer young girl” trope, as it tends to drift into gross sexualization, but del Toro is a thoughtful filmmaker. I’m sure he’ll bring something new to it. In the hope of figuring out more about the plot, I looked up the title, and Wikipedia predictably has some teachings:

Zanbatō (斬馬刀), an especially large, single-edged sword dating to the Heian period of historical Japan. The name zanbatō translates to “horse-slaying sword” or “horse-chopping saber”. Original examples came from Song Dynasty China and were employed by anti-cavalry infantry in the same manner.

Based on this description, I’m going to assume that this badass murder-factory of a girl lost her family to a band of anthropomorphized horse brigands. She’s going to be dishing out bloody vengeance to armed and evil versions of Flicka and Black Beauty, and I am totally down to watch that.

According to del Toro himselfZanbato has been in the works for six years now and is still under active development, so this may not be the cinematic version of “vaporware” that we’ve come to expect and fear from del Toro. Here’s hoping! Meanwhile, we still have his stop motion musical version of Pinocchio to look forward to, which I’m sure Netflix is already making room for in its Oscars display case.

  1. Apologizes to Chilean geologist, Guillermo Chong. It was a close call, and hey, at least you still have a mineral named after you: Chongite!