Taika Waititi confirms he will not direct Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for Marvel Studios. After making a name for himself with offbeat indie offerings like What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Waititi brought his unique filmmaking sensibilities and style to the MCU with Thor: Ragnarok. Looking to reinvent the God of Thunder's solo series (which lagged in popularity compared to Iron Man and Captain America), the New Zealand-born director channeled Flash Gordon to craft a humorous and entertaining franchise entry that maintained Waititi's distinct voice while operating within the larger machine.
Ragnarok's blending of comedy and action went over very well with critics and audiences ($853.9 million worldwide), and Waititi quickly became a fan-favorite pick for another Marvel movie. Last summer, James Gunn was fired from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 after offensive tweets of his resurfaced, and as the search for a replacement continues, many have suggested Waititi take the reins. His sense of humor and success with Marvel would make him a natural fit, but Waititi isn't interested.
Today at TCA (via Deadline), Waititi was asked about the possibility of directing Guardians of the Galaxy 3. While Waititi said he would be up for directing another Marvel movie, he took himself out of the running for the cosmic team's next solo adventure.
"For me, those are James [Gunn]’s films. Going into something like that with his stamp all over his films, would be like going into someone’s house and saying ‘Hey, I’m your new dad, and this is how we make peanut butter sandwiches now. It feels kind of awkward.”
In addition to writing and directing the first two Guardians films, Gunn even scripted Avengers: Infinity War dialogue for the characters. He's definitely been the main creative driving force behind the property's rise from obscure comic book to global blockbuster, which makes finding a successor a tricky proposition. Several of the big names viewers have dreamt about, including Waititi and Edgar Wright, are uncomfortable with the thought of stepping in for Gunn since Guardians has been Gunn's vision through and through from the beginning. Those still involved with Vol. 3, like Chris Pratt, promise the film's still being made, but it remains on indefinite hold until the director issue is resolved. It'll be interesting to see how things play out on that front, since Marvel intends to keep Gunn's Guardians 3 script. They need to hire someone who can fit Gunn's material without doing a pale imitation of the original. That's an intricate balance and explains why many established filmmakers are fine sitting on the sidelines.
As for Waititi's future with Marvel, he has already met with the studio to discuss a mystery project, so he very well may end up calling the shots on one of the Phase 4 projects in development. Since Marvel has kept their post-Endgame plans close to the chest, it's anyone's best guess what that might be. In the meantime, Waititi is keeping busy with films that are right up his alley. He's currently in post-production on his World War II dramedy Jojo Rabbit and is lined up to direct a movie about Michael Jackson's pet chimpanzee Bubbles for Netflix. Both of those have potential to be as inventive and rewarding as Waititi's earlier efforts, so even without Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, his career will be in great shape.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019