The upcoming live-action Ghost in the Shell movie revolves around Scarlett Johansson’s enigmatic character — the Major — throwing down with villain Hideo Kuze (Michael Pitt). The film is building off a large body of work that includes manga, anime films, and television shows. If you’re curious but haven’t had time to dive in, here’s everything you need to know about her adversary.

In the futuristic cyberpunk world of Ghost in the Shell, humans incorporate technology into their bodies in varying degrees. Hideo Kuze is a full cyborg who has made the unusual and creepy choice to have a sculpted face rather than one that is prosthetic. This limits his mouth movements when he talks, giving him a ventriloquist effect. He’s got quite a backstory with the Major, as he knew her before both occupied their current cyborg bodies. Intriguingly, Hideo Kuze is the first person the Major ever loves. They met as children in a hospital and folded paper cranes for each other to boost each other’s morale, as a thousand paper cranes symbolizes a wish coming true.

He’s an extremist and the last surviving member of a terrorist group called “Individual Eleven,” However, as Ghost in the Shell director Rupert Sanders explained, the film is making Kuze a unique amalgamation of characters from the canon. “Kuze borrows a few facets from different characters in the series, he’s not just Kuze and he’s not just the Puppet Master,” he said. “So he’s a kind of amalgamation, so the way he moves through the network and stuff is borrowed from other elements. He’s kind of our own creation …”

The “Puppet Master” Sanders referenced is an artificial intelligence experiment that developed a hostile mind of his own. In the 1995 Ghost in the Shell, the Major is supposed to apprehend him but connects with him instead. If Pitt’s character is an amalgamation of Puppet Master and Hideo Kuze, it’s likely that there will be a complicated bond between the two characters.

Kuze is disillusioned with Japan’s policy and plans to lead refugees into revolution. This entails leading them into cyberspace, sans bodies. While it’s too soon to tell how much the film will tweak his persona, he’s the classic bad guy with good intentions.


Ghost in the Shell hits theaters on March 31, 2017.

Photos via Paramount 

Lauren's writing has appeared on The Huffington Post, Page Views at The New York Daily News, and 20SomethingReads at The Book Report Network. She has also interned at The Overlook Press and Cosmopolitan. A Dartmouth grad, she lives in Brooklyn.