Everybody knows that Levi is not only the strongest Survey Corps soldier, but also easily the most popular character of the series, outclassing even the protagonist Eren Yeager. However, the character is not portrayed in any of the two parts of the live-action movie. Why? Now the movies' screenwriter Tomohiro Machiyama finally answers the question.
In interview with Cinema Today, Machiyama says that the reason why Levi was discarded relies in two main points:
Firstly, that the movies are intended to focus on the relationship between Eren and Mikasa (who are a romantic couple in this story instead of adoptive siblings, in case you didn't know), and Levi is simply too badass and would have overshadowed the protagonists -again-.
And secondly, and the main reason actually, the culprit was his name. The original series depicts a world where most of the survivors that live within the Walls are from western origin (evident in their features and names), and though that formula works fine in animated and manga material, the producers thought that it would be weird to bring it to the live-action world; especially since many of the names are German and it might be uncomfortable to see Japanese actors trying to pull off Germans.
Movies' director Shinji Higuchi started by changing the setting to Japan and using asian actors. At some point they even considered to change the names of the characters to more common Japanese names, but they finally decided to keep the originals. However, Levi's name was a problem, since it contains a "v", which is an unusal letter in the Japanese language, to the point that some dictionaries don’t even use it. Producers thought that his name sounded too foreign and they would need to give some sort of explanation to the audience about it, so they simply chose not to use the character (being replaced by Shikishima).
So these are the reasons why there is no Levi in the live-action movies. What do you think? Do you agree with their decision?
Source | Kotaku