Director Taika Waititi has made quite the name for himself over the course of the past couple of years as a premiere comedy filmmaker. With such critically-acclaimed hits as the vampire satire What We Do in the Shadows and this summer’s coming-of-age dramedy Hunt for the Wilderpeople, all eyes are on the Kiwi talent as he makes his first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Waititi is now directing Thor: Ragnarok, an upcoming Phase 3 MCU film – one that could also prove to be the “most different” MCU film to date.
With Ragnarok costar Mark Ruffalo having already finished filming his scenes as Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk in the movie, production on Waititi’s Thor installment is moving along steadily. With more and more photos from the Ragnarok set making their way online on a weekly basis (including one of everyone’s favorite MCU antagonist, Loki), Waititi has now revealed some interesting details about what he’s been up to behind the scenes on his first Marvel film.
According to BuzzFeed, while filming in Queensland Australia Wiaititi and his crew took it upon themselves to hire the indigenous Yugambeh people of the Gold Coast where the Thor: Ragnarok sets are located. Being of Māori descent himself, Waititi thought it was important that his production team be comprised of local crew members. Speaking to his aboriginal co-workers, Waititi stated:
“It’s a responsibility you have to the Indigenous people. You’re coming to a country and you’re bringing money into the economy and creating jobs but I think you have an even bigger responsibility to look after the people that have less opportunities.”
Knowing that Waititi is giving his own native peoples a chance at working on the set of a motion picture production as large as Thor: Ragnarok is is just another reason to love the New Zealand talent. Speaking to having a crew consisting of Māori, Aboriginal Australians, and New Zealanders on the set as helping to ease his nerves while working on the Marvel Studios production, Waititi remarked further on his thinking behind hiring such an unconventional crew for the MCU film, commenting:
“I was exploring the idea from the moment I got to LA, telling the producers at Marvel and they were fully onboard with it. We got a few attachments and it’s really cool. We’ve got them all throughout different departments and I feel quite good about it.”
Waititi is no stranger to conducting work outside of the studio system, and appears to be bringing all of his upbringing rooted in his storied heritage to work with him in a big way. Knowing that Thor: Ragnarok will be the first MCU film made by an Indigenous filmmaker is certainly the cause for some celebration, and could result in a more unconventional entry in the Marvel Studios franchise.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.