Taika Waititi is developing a Flash Gordon animated movie for Disney and Fox. Created in the 1930s, Flash Gordon started off as a comic strip about the dashing athlete-turned intrepid space adventurer of the same name, and has since made the leap to film, as well as both animated and live-action TV. The 1980 Flash Gordon movie has further become a cult title in the decades since its release (something Seth MacFarlane's 2012 comedy Ted famously tapped into), and the larger franchise's influence on pop culture like Star Wars can still be felt to this day.
However, in spite of all that, Fox has had a difficult time getting a Flash Gordon movie reboot off the ground since it landed the film rights in 2014. Directors Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman) and Julius Avery (Overlord) have worked on the project over the last five years, but both of their iterations failed to make it past the early stages of pre-production. Fox and its new owner Disney are now trying a different approach - not only in terms of director, but even the movie's actual medium.
Deadline is reporting that Waititi has been hired to "crack" an animated Flash Gordon movie for Disney and Fox. The site has initially heard that Waititi was set to both write and direct the film, but has since learned that his actual role is a bit more up in the air right now (other than he's involved with it, in some form or another).
As far as directors for a Flash Gordon animated movie go, Waititi would be a pretty inspired choice. The filmmaker's acclaimed blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok had more than a few traits in common with Flash Gordon; namely, they're both about blonde heroes trekking across a psychedelically colored universe in order to battle a villain hell-bent on ruling, well, everything. Even as a writer or producer only, though, Waitit would still no doubt help the movie to achieve the proper balance of spectacle and tongue in cheek comedy that it needs to work as a modern take on Flash Gordon's more outdated and/or regressive aspects (see also: Ming the Merciless). Not to mention, Waititi and the wild, imaginative world of animation feel like they were made for one another.
That said: if Waititi does end up directing Flash Gordon, then it won't be for a hot minute. The filmmaker will be promoting his satirical adaptation Jojo Rabbit over the next few months and is expected to turn his attention to the live-action Akira movie shortly after that (in order to make its May 2021 release target). Of course, animated films typically take longer to develop than live-action movies anyway, so it's possible that Waititi's schedule will have cleared up a bit by the time that production on Flash Gordon is actually ready to begin. Either way, it might be a while before there's more news to report on this one.