Scarlett Johansson’s enigmatic character “The Major” doesn’t exactly have friends in the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie. She’s a bit of a workaholic, and her life centers around her anti-terrorism group Public Security Section 9. If you’re intrigued but new to the Ghost in the Shell franchise — which includes manga, anime films, TV shows, and video games — it can seem overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know about her job.
The Ghost in the Shell universe is set in a futuristic Japan in which humans and cyborgs are combined to varying degrees. Some people simply have technology in their brain; others have entire cyborg bodies. Public Security Section 9 is a special ops task force comprised of detectives and ex-military officers. Though their duties range from search and rescue to counterterrorism, their specialty is cyborg-related incidents. They primarily investigate cyberterrorism both abroad and at home in the fictional city of Niihama.
The unit is comprised of ten members, and Scarlett Johansson’s Major is the second-in-command. Her boss is known as “The Chief.” Only one team member is fully and naturally human; the rest contain augmentations like cybernetic eyes that link to satellite to help with sniper duties.
The location of their headquarters is top secret, though it’s sprawling, decked out with cells for criminals, helipads on the rooftop, and a control center.
Public Security Section 9 is under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, part of the Japanese government in this world, but because they’re so secretive, they operate largely autonomously. In the line of duty, the Major has spied for them, donned various disguises, seen the government turn against her, and gone head to head with terrorism organization Individual Eleven, which Ghost in the Shell villain Hideo Kuze has ties to.
Although the details of Major’s life and memory are hazy, Public Security Section 9 is her one constant. It’s her clubhouse, it’s her people, and it’s her purpose.
Ghost in the Shell hits theaters on March 25, 2017.