James Cameron will begin working on 'Battle Angel Alita' in 2017.

The 'Avatar' filmmaker has confirmed his long-standing Japanese manga adaptation is still in the pipeline, with production expected to ''begin to develop'' five years from now.

The film is being planned to coincide with the completion of his two sequels to 2009's epic adventure 'Avatar'.

The Film Stage is reporting that Cameron gave the update at TagDF in Mexico City last week, saying the trans-human themes have ''haunted'' him for years.

'Battle Angel Alita' is based on a manga series created by Yukito Kishiro in 1990, originally published in Shueisha's Business Jump magazine.

It tells the story of a cyborg found on a rubbish heap with no memory of her former life, who is taken in by a kind doctor. After he fixes her, she sets off on a quest to recover her missing memories.

In the meantime, Cameron is focusing on making the follow-up to ground-breaking 3D flick 'Avatar', scheduled for release in 2015. The film is expected to be set in planet Pandora's deep oceans in a bid to make the film even more visually arresting than the first chapter.

Producer Jon Landau teased earlier this year: ''We want to take advantage of the technologies brilliant people are putting out to make the next two movies even more emotionally engaging and visually tantalising, and to really wrap up the story arc of our two main characters.''