When the actors in Alita: Battle Angel walk through Iron City, they really are walking through Iron City. Director Robert Rodriguez and his team physically built a nearly 10,000 square foot set for the futuristic city in under two months. That may sound impossible, but in the exclusive video above, you’ll see that it’s not.

Iron City is the heart of Alita: Battle Angel, a film set centuries after a great war separated the population. Rich people live in cities in the sky, while everyone else lives on the ground. There are so many people with so many diverse cultures in that grounded city—Iron City—that filmmakers designed it as almost a layer cake of different influences, as if cities had been built upon cities, upon cities, etc. While much of the height of the city was digitally added on, everything else on set was physically created to make sure the actors could feel that history. It’s a very cool feat.

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This all happened at Troublemaker Studios, Rodriguez’s personal film studio in Austin, Texas. That’s where the majority of Alita was filmed, which means you’ll get to see much more of the space besides Iron City when Alita: Battle Angel comes to digital July 9 and Blu-ray July 23. Read more of our coverage below.


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Germain Lussier

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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