Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is taking at a jab at Lucasfilm's problem with employing directors following the exit of Star Wars: Episode IX helmer Colin Trevorrow. There was a huge cosmic shift in the movie industry, following Lucasfilm's sudden announcement that it would be parting ways with Trevorrow, which was attributed to conflicting visions about the yet-to-be-subtitled Star Wars: Episode IX, the final chapter in the newest Star Wars trilogy.
While the move didn't seem to be as shocking as the firing of young Han Solo co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller in June over "creative differences" (some pundits guessed a change was coming for Episode IX after the critical drubbing and dismal box office of Trevorrow's summer indie drama The Book of Henry), the sudden departure still took the industry aback a bit before speculation ramped up over who will take take the director's place.
One filmmaker who's definitely not interested in the job is Waititi, who made it quite clear Tuesday night while answering a tweet from a fan. Waititi, who is flipping the Marvel Cinematic Universe on its ear (at least judging by the psychedelic trailers) with Thor: Ragnarok, first replied to a fan's tweet that suggested he take over the Episode IX by saying, "Lolz. I like to complete my films," followed by another response that said, "I'd be fired within a week." See the tweets below:
I'd be fired within a week.
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) September 6, 2017
While Waititi's responses were relatively short, they were to the point and in obvious reference to Lucasfilm's woes with not only Trevorrow, but Lord and Miller (who completed a huge portion of principal photography before Ron Howard took over Han Solo), as well as Rogue One director Gareth Edwards (Tony Gilroy was brought aboard the film for reshoots).
It's interesting that Waititi - an indie director fresh at the helm of his first blockbuster gig - would be so emboldened to mock a directorial opportunity as high profile as Star Wars, especially since Marvel and Lucasfilm both fall under Disney's corporate umbrella. Even if he hadn't said anything, the chances of him getting hired for Episode IX were slim to none anyway; but there's no doubt his words will be remembered when it comes time for Lucasfilm to draw up shortlists for future Star Wars spinoffs.
Looking at the big picture, perhaps Waititi's words represent a growing feeling in the industry among directors that as golden an opportunity it is to direct a Star Wars film, it's going to come with a lot of compromise that a lot of helmers aren't willing to make. By the looks of Thor: Ragnarok, Waititi was given the creative freedom to tell a tale about the God of Thunder that's decidedly different in tone than anything we've seen in a Thor movie before (if not the Marvel Cinematic Universe), while with Star Wars, there appears to be no room to go outside of the series' rigid creative parameters. Simply put, Star Wars movies have a certain tone about them, and there's no deviation from that.
So while Episode IX will undoubtedly land in more than capable hands, Kathleen Kennedy and her fellow creatives at Lucasfilm will have to do some soul searching, and come up with a plan in the process of selecting future directors to make sure their visions are in sync with one another. You know the game is getting ugly when a director like Waititi effectively yanks his name out of the hat before the selection process begins, and that's the sort of thing that Lucasfilm would just as soon do without.
Source: Taika Waititi
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019