Alexandre Aja has acquired the rights to Cobra—The Space Pirate, a space-opera manga series written and illustrated by Buichi Terasawa.

Cobra—The Space Pirate is set in a future where merchant spaceships and ruthless brigands sail across space. Cobra is a notorious rogue pirate whose refusal to align with the United Galaxies Federation or the Pirates Guild puts him on the business end of a huge bounty. As he tries to keep his identity secret and avoid capture, Cobra teams up with a sexy bounty hunter named Jane, who is out to locate her sisters and decode a treasure map tattooed on their backs. Their goal: to liberate a lost treasure on Mars.

Aja, who has battled vigorously for the rights, clearly has a lot of respect for Terasawa’s work and plans to turn the manga series into a full-blown live-action cinematic franchise.

Aja, referring to Cobra—The Space Pirate, said:

“My day was, finish school, run home and switch on the TV and I was hardly the only one. Kids did it in France, Italy, Spain, all over Western Europe. For many people there is Star Wars and nothing else, but for me and my writing partner Gregory, there is Star Wars and Cobra. I am so surprised it never crossed the ocean and made the same impact in the U.S., because it is so big everywhere else. There are 60 books, a lot of TV animation and so many adventures, pirates and bad guys that it is perfect to be reinvented into a really cool space opera adventure franchise for a new generation.”

Aja says he will begin work on a script soon alongside Gregory Levasseur, with a plan to shoot in 3D. He is currently talking to a host of creature designers, to make sure he builds the world of Cobra the right way.

Cobra—The Space Pirate doesn’t sound like a huge departure for Aja which, combined with his past experience in the genre, may make fans of the original manga series more welcoming to the news of a proposed adaptation.

Aja’s latest directorial effort Piranha (3D), a remake of the 1978 creature feature of the same name, will be released tomorrow.

Deadline reported this one.