Despite the frightening constant acceleration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) at the hands of several different creatives and filmmakers, arguably it was the influence of Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi that would have the biggest impression on the franchise. Bringing the perfect blend of humour and creative innovation, Waititi brought the same ingenuity to the MCU as he had proven in previous feature films Hunt for the Wilderpeople and What We Do in the Shadows.
With Taika Waititi looking to revolutionise superhero films once more with Thor: Love and Thunder released in summer 2022, the director has become something of an ambassador for the series, embodying the vibrant spirit of the MCU itself. Such came to fruition when he jumped to the defence of the series in 2019 when filmmaker Martin Scorsese told the New York Times that such films are “market-researched, audience-tested, vetted, modified, revetted and remodified until they’re ready for consumption”.
Believing that each of the films in the MCU lacks “revelation, mystery or genuine emotional danger,” Scorsese adds that he believes “nothing is at risk,” with his controversial words causing a firestorm on social media. Voicing his displeasure at Scorsese’s remarks, it was Waititi, along with fellow Marvel director James Gunn, who were first to react to the statement, with the Thor: Ragnarok director telling AP entertainment, “Of course it’s cinema. It’s at the movies. It’s in cinemas”.
Life beyond the cosmic adventures of the MCU look fruitful for Taika Waititi too, with the director releasing the sports comedy Next Goal Wins in 2022 along with an epic space opera named The Incal that is being penned by Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame. As well as these exciting projects, far off in the future, Waititi has a live-action adaptation of the world famous anime Akira on the cards.
Having been in the production pipeline for a number of years, Waititi has been carefully preparing the project, looking at the faults of similar adaptations such as Ghost in the Shell and Alita: Battle Angel before he jumps into the daunting new film. “Who wants to see a shot-for-shot remake of the film? Nobody,” Waititi told The Hollywood Reporter in 2017, adding, “Also, you have to make it entertaining. I think it’s really dangerous to make these films very serious cyberpunk. There was a time and place for that and there may be a time and place for that tone again, but you have to make fresh takes on things”.
Caught in a dormant stage between the red light and the green light, Waititi remains keen to take on the project, telling Dazed in 2018, “I haven’t really started to get my head around it yet,” knowing that he wants to base the new film around the Manga stories and not the influential anime. Reassuring fans of the original story, however, Waititi is in no rush to force an inferior version of the film out, telling the magazine, “There are six gigantic books to go through. It’s so rich. But Akira is one of my favourite films; my mum took me to see it when I was 13 and it changed my life”.
Chaotic, vibrant and totally revolutionary, Akira is known as one of the greatest animated movies of all time, take a look at the trailer for the film, below.