Taika Waititi already reinvigorated the Thor franchise. Now he’s looking to do the same for Star Wars.
Waititi is probably best-known for directing “Thor: Ragnarok” — easily the best of the Thor movies and one of the most delightful films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. More recently, he wrote and directed the Nazi comedy “Jojo Rabbit,” for which he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
He’s actually worked in the Star Wars universe already, directing the first-season finale of “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ (and also lending his voice to a droid assassin).
According to the announcement from Disney (presumably timed with its annual “May the 4th” promotional event for Star Wars), Waititi will be directing a Star Wars film, which he will co-write with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”). The movie does not yet have a release date — Waititi probably needs to get the next Thor sequel done first.
Star Wars and Lucasfilm are in a bit of flux right now, with the recent “Rise of Skywalker” wrapping up the nine-film Skywalker Saga to mixed reviews and significant lower box office than either “The Force Awakens” or “The Last Jedi.” Former Disney CEO Bob Iger even admitted that the company “might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast.”
While “The Mandalorian” looks like a hit, and although there are more Star Wars shows in the works for Disney+, it’s not clear what’s next for the franchise on the big screen. In addition to Waititi’s film, “Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson is also supposed to be working on his own trilogy, while “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have apparently abandoned their Star Wars plans to focus on their work for Netflix.
Disney’s announcement confirms previous reports of Waititi’s move to Star Wars, and it confirms another rumor — that Leslye Headland is developing a Star Wars series for Disney+, which she will write, executive produce and showrun. Since Headland was co-creator and showrunner of “Russian Doll” (my favorite streaming show of 2019), this is good news indeed.