At its genesis, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was one based in reality, with muted colors and a shared aesthetics in every film. As time progressed though, directors gained more control over their projects, instilling new creative life into this ever-expanding universe. Few films made as big of a creative impact on the MCU though as Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok.
Taika Waititi, the zany indie darling behind What We Do In The Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, brought his unique brand of humor and filmmaking to the creatively bankrupt property that was the Thor franchise. Without a doubt, Ragnarok reenergized both the Thor series and the MCU as a whole. With Taika returning for a fourth Thor film, there are many things that he needs to accomplish to keep his winning streak going.
10 Bring Back Valkyrie
An instant favorite, Tessa Thompson's performance as the powerful and brash Valkyrie stole the hearts of fans everywhere. Explosive, flawed, and hilarious, Valkyrie brought a whole new dynamic to what kinds of characters we see in the MCU. Seeing Valkyrie return in Endgame was a treat to be sure, but her small appearance still left fans wanting more.
Now that she is King of New Asgard (that's right, King), it only feels right that she should make a comeback in Thor 4. Valkyrie has so much potential in this series, and to leave her behind on Earth would feel like an utter waste of talent and storytelling opportunity.
9 Don't Bring Back Loki
Since the first film in the Thor Franchise, Loki has remained both a source of sympathetic fraternal feelings and villainous resentment. Death after death, Loki has always found a way of escape. But, when the mad titan proclaimed no resurrections after strangling the God of Mischief, Loki's death felt permanent (not to mention actually impactful for once).
Sure, 2012 alternative universe Loki is still running around the multi-verse somewhere, but he's getting a series on Disney+. The last thing fans need is another runaround excuse as to how Loki survived in this timeline, specifically. Thor is damaged, and Loki's death is a huge part of that. To take that emotional baggage away again would be a huge mistake on Taika and Marvel's part.
8 Include Fantastic Cameos
Strange as it might seem, this oddball director from New Zealand has become one of the leading modern auteurs, and film fans couldn't be happier. As a director with a particular vision for each of his projects, its no wonder he has assembled a favorite troupe of actors from project to project. Looking over his films, he has utilized some of the best cameos.
Obviously, his appearance in Hunt for the Wilderpeople comes to mind, but Ragnarok was full of incredible guest appearances too. Matt Damon and Sam Neill were hilarious in their short roles, but Rachel House (of Wilderpeople fame) as Topaz was outstanding. With Thor 4, Taika could continue this tradition, and bring in some of his favorite players. Looking over his work, it would be amazing to see either Julian Dennison or Jermaine Clement pop up alongside the God of Thunder.
7 Don't Repeat Villain Types
This critique is in no way an insult to the literal goddess that is Cate Blanchett. Her work as Hela is arguably the most underrated villain performance in the entire MCU. She embodied the icy coolness without ever seeming bland or one-note. That being said, her pathos was a second thought when compared to the theatricality and campiness of the character.
Hela was exactly what she needed to be for Ragnarok, and was near perfect. This time around though, Taika should use a villain who brings much more nuanced and complicated character work to the table. In a post-Thanos and Killmonger landscape, this feels essential. As far as possible baddies, perhaps Enchantress or Mangog could make their first big-screen appearance?
6 Bring Back Korg
While Taika Waititi is an excellent director of drama and comedy, he is also a profoundly talented performer. Doing double duty as a director and an actor is not unheard of, but it feels like an essential part of the filmmaking process for Taika. Whether it's as the priest in Hunt for the Wilderpeople or Viago in What We Do In The Shadows, Taika loves dressing up and showing off his acting chops.
In Ragnarok, Taika continued this trend but in a brand new way as the alien Korg. Korg was one of the Ragnarok's best inclusions, so when he made a surprise appearance in Endgame, fans lost it. While it might just be fan service, Taika has to reprise his role as Korg.
5 Don't Rely Too Much On Jokes
Taika has his own brand and style of humor. Unparalleled and unique, Taika's sense of humor could only come from him and is, arguably, his greatest gift. With Ragnarok, Taika was unrestricted from expressing it fully. With it in full swing, it brought out the best of his cast, especially in Chris Hemsworth's performance. That being said, the Thor that audiences saw in Ragnarok is far and beyond the Thor that survived Endgame.
Thor is now adrift, without a homeland or family, and is only now coming to terms with his emotional state. With Thor 4, Taika has an opportunity to explore some more dramatic elements, similar to his previous work on Boy or Hunt for the Wilderpeople. All of his films utilize his particular brand of comedy, but there is an appropriate balance that has to be struck.
4 Keep Thor Thicc
Few characters in the MCU have had such drastic character arcs as Thor. Reflecting on his first appearance and his most recent, Thor is almost unrecognizable as the brash god of thunder from Kenneth Branagh's first outing. And that's a good thing. Thor's journey remains one of the most interesting in the entire MCU. Because of this, reverting to his original form would feel like a betrayal.
Taika should embrace the new "thicc" version of Thor that Endgame gave fans. It perfectly embodies where Thor is at as a character, and reversing this decision immediately would feel awkward and forced. Not to mention, Hemsworth seemed to enjoy playing a drastically different version of himself.
3 Don't Include (All) The Guardians
Thor and the Guardians of the Galaxy were a team that most probably never saw coming, but which works perfectly. Thor, Rocket, and Groot made a perfect trio in Infinity War, offering some surprisingly poignant moments. By the time Endgame was over, Thor had teamed back up permanently with the Guardians of the Galaxy. This team-up is sure to offer some great laughs, but a Thor movie should remain primarily about Thor himself. It has no place being a team-up with another franchise.
Having Rocket joining Thor 4 could be a lot of fun, but mixing in all of the Guardians into a Thor movie sounds crowded. It would either feel like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie featuring Thor, or a Thor movie featuring the Guardians, or some other odd concoction with an identity crisis. Though the team-up sound fun at first, it could cause a bit of confusion tonally moving forward.
2 Give Thor A Satisfying Conclusion
For a long time, Thor was a bit of the black sheep of the MCU family. While Hemsworth was perfectly charming in the role, none of his solo outings or appearances in Avengers films were particularly memorable. Once Ragnarok came around though, the hero was reinvigorated and became one of the most fascinating to watch. That being said, his journey has had a clear arc up to this point.
While many of us would love to keep laughing along with Thor on many adventures to come, everything must end. It feels only natural after the titanic shifts in Thor's story, and the gauntlet his character has to run, that perhaps it is time to conclude his story. While this doesn't necessarily have to mean his death, a clear cut conclusion to his individual story feels natural.
1 Don't Restrict Taika's Voice
While all of these previous points would be great and certainly feel like natural guidelines, there is only one thing that Thor 4 needs to succeed: Don't restrict Taika's vision. If Phase Three is any indication, allowing the directors to carry out their vision of a film and its characters result in movie magic.
Gone are the days when a shared universe was the most important thing about the MCU. Now, allowing creators such as Ryan Coogler, The Russos, and James Gunn to fully run their films without overreaching studio execs breathing down there backs has resulted in some of the best superhero films ever made. Taika is no different. Out of all of these creators, Taika has a distinct voice that cannot and should not be tampered with.