Prior to 2017, New Zealand director Taika Waititi was known mostly for his indie films, from coming of age stories like Hunt For The Wilderpeople, to the horror-comedy mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows. Then came this year’s Thor: Ragnarok. Suddenly, Waititi was responsible for one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most universally praised movies, which saw the director’s stock rise through the roof.
His stock rose so much, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy informally offered him a job helming a future Star Wars film. This is a somewhat ironic development, given that just before Ragnarok came out, Waititi stated he wasn’t cut out for something like the Star Wars universe. “That particular franchise seems really hard,” he mused. “There’s not much room for someone like me.”
However, things have changed a lot for Waititi since then.
In the wake of Waititi’s newfound mainstream success in the MCU, we have a few reasons why he’s actually pretty perfect to take up Lucasfilm’s offer and tell a story in a galaxy far, far away.
His Balanced Style of Filmmaking
While Waititi placed his signature comedic style at the forefront of Ragnarok, he cleverly supplemented it with epic action sequences, truly revitalizing a flailing Thor franchise. It wasn’t just about the feel, but about the look. Waititi threw the Odinson, Hulk and Loki into a crazy road-trip. It was so colorful and vibrant, it drew comparisons to the legendary Jack Kirby and left Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn in awe.
This kind of rollicking space saga is exactly what a Star Wars film should be. This action-comedy dynamic was recently seen in The Force Awakens, and is likely to pop up again in Ron Howard’s Han Solo film. We’ve already seen Waititi craft Star Wars-esque characters, with Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster evoking memories of Billy Dee Williams as the shady Lando Calrissian, and Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie reminding us a bit of the ruthless bounty hunter, Boba Fett.
He’s All About A Diverse Universe
Waititi has always been a major proponent of diversity in his work. He hired indigenous people from New Zealand to work behind the scenes on Ragnarok, and cast some in the film, depicting a multi-ethnic kaleidoscope on-screen. He also spliced Australian heritage into the visual aesthetic of the movie, with various spaceships, like the Commodore The Revengers used to escape Sakaar, painted in Aboriginal colors.
This open-mindedness makes him a great fit for the Star Wars universe, which has expanded a lot in terms of inclusivity in recent years. Clearly, Waititi is on the same page as Lucasfilm in terms of using people of color. This progressive thinking also allowed Waititi to create unique aliens with lovable personalities, like Korg (whom he played with his New Zealand accent) and Miek, the likes of which would help to make the Star Wars cosmos, well, all the more cosmopolitan. Lastly, Star Wars prides itself on strong females such as Princess Leia, Rey and Jyn Erso, and so does Waititi, as seen with his takes on Valkyrie and Hela. He endorses female empowerment and equality, and isn’t scared to make them stars in his movie.
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