Laeta Kalogridis, the writer and Executive producer of the Skydance's popular anime television series Sword Art Online recently declared that the rights for the live-action adaptation of the series have been sold to Netflix. Laeta revealed the news in an interview with Collider. He also added that the lead characters Kirito and Asuna will be played by Asian actors in the live action adaptation.
Netflix had earlier adapted popular anime Death Note into a live-action Netfilx original film, but the adaptation was majorly critisized for whitewashing of the cast. This time Netfilx has decided to keep the lead cast Asian, as it in the original Anime. While highlighting this issue in the interview Kalogridis said "When I sold it (Sword Art Online) to Netflix, we were all on the same page. They are not interested in whitewashing it, and I am not interested in whitewashing it." He further clarified that the side cast will have non Asian characters as well. He said "In terms of the secondary characters, because the game is meant to be global, the way it's presented in the anime and in the light novels, there are secondary characters that clearly are from other parts of the world, like Klein and Agil."
Sword Art Online is a Japanese light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec. The light novels began publication on ASCII Media Works' Dengeki Bunko imprint from April 10, 2009, with a spin-off series launching in October 2012. An anime television series produced by A-1 Pictures, aired in Japan between July and December 2012, with television film Sword Art Online: Extra Edition airing on December 31, 2013, and a second season, titled Sword Art Online II, airing between July and December 2014. An animated film titled Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale featuring an original story by Kawahara premiered in Japan and Southeast Asia on February 18, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 9, 2017. A third season titled Sword Art Online: Alicization and a spin-off anime series titled Sword Art Online Alternative Gun Gale Online are in production and are set to be released in 2018.