The film, Miyazaki's first in almost five years, is based on his manga of the same name published in Japanese magazine Model Graphix in 2009. Miyazaki's inspiration for the manga came from a short story by mid-20th century Japanese writer and poet Tatsuo Hori. The plot centers on the life of Jiro Horikoshi, a plane engineer famous for creating the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter that flew during World War II.
Although not much else is known about the upcoming film at this point, it has been announced that Japanese animator and film director Hideaki Anno, known for his work on the Evangelion anime film series, will voice the main character Jiro Horikoshi. Composer Joe Hisaishi, a long-time Miyazaki collaborator, will provide the film's soundtrack.
Scheduled to debut in theaters on July 20, 2013, the film will be distributed by Toho in Japan. There has been no word yet as to whether Walt Disney Studios will distribute the film in North America, or if like the recently From Up on Poppy Hill (Kokuriko-zaka Kara), another distributor will take the theatrical reigns.