Phase III of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is rolling right along. The Russo Brothers have started post-production on Captain America: Civil War; Scott Derrickson is going to start filming Doctor Strange before 2015 is over; James Gunn is gearing up to begin shooting Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in the first quarter of 2016; and the Spider-Man reboot has both a script in the works and a director onboard.
Next on the list is Thor: Ragnarok, the third solo movie anchored by Chris Hemsworth as the God of Thunder. A pair of screenwriters for Ragnarok were officially announced by Marvel Studios back in 2014, though more recently Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige indicated there will be an additional writer announcement – along with the news about who will be calling the shots on the movie.
THR is reporting that Taika Waititi has entered talks to direct Thor: Ragnarok, though it remains to be seen if the plan is for the actor/writer/director to revise the earlier Ragnarok script draft himself – or supervise the process, while another scribe tackles the job. Furthermore, THR reports that Waititi was one of a handful of filmmakers who have been considered to oversee Marvel’s next Thor movie, with the other three finalists being Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story), and Rob Letterman (Goosebumps).
Ragnarok will revolve around a seemingly apocalyptic threat to Asgard and the Nine Realms in general – something that Thor has a vision of, when he was under Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) influence during the events in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hence, Thor left Earth near the end of Age of Ultron and thus will be the rare Avenger team member who is not an active player in the events that unfold in the Captain America movie trilogy conclusion that is Civil War.
Nonetheless, the upcoming Thor movie ought to boast a mix of serious drama/action and humor that resembles that for other Marvel movies past. In fact, generally speaking, Marvel Studios has tended to recruit directors with extensive comedy backgrounds – the exceptions such as Derrickson aside – and it appears that won’t change with Ragnarok, now that Waititi is closing in on his deal (while the runner-ups have near equal amounts of comedy work under their belts as Waititi). Similarly, like Spider-Man helmer Jon Watts and a number of other Marvel movie directors, Waititi will be joining the MCU when he’s still largely unknown to the mainstream filmgoing masses.
Waititi is fresh off co-writing/co-directing the critically-acclaimed vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows (which he also co-starred in). That film marks Waititi’s most recent collaboration with actor/filmmaker Jemaine Clement, with the two New Zealanders having previously worked on similarly off-beat comedy fare like Eagle vs. Shark and the Flight of the Conchords TV series.
Marvel’s affiliate Walt Disney Pictures has already established a working relationship with Waititi, as he’s co-writing the Mouse House’s 2016 animated musical Moana; no doubt, that further helped Waititi to make his way onto Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok director search radar. The Russos went from crafting great TV comedy to becoming perhaps Marvel Studio’s most trusted filmmakers (as they’re also calling the shots on Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 & 2), so it’ll be interesting to see if Waititi can make an equally successful jump (after hits like What We Do in the Shadows) into the big-budget superhero film game.
Captain America: Civil War opens in theaters May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man– July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther– July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.