Before taking the job for Thor: Ragnarok, the director of Next Goal Wins didn’t forsee blockbusters in his filmmaking career.
Taika Waititi’s early career in small comedies included some acclaimed but slightly obscure titles with his involvement in HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and features such as What We Do in the Shadows and The Hunt for the Wilderpeople. The writer/director certainly had a distinct voice and that voice was an unlikely choice for a big-budget Marvel Studios film. The success of Thor: Ragnarok and his additional appearances as Korg helped Waititi accumulate clout so that he can go on to make his more passionate projects like Jojo Rabbit and the recent soccer comedy, Next Goal Wins, which stars Michael Fassbender.
IndieWire reports that Waititi sat down with the hosts of the Smartless podcast, Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett, where he revealed that he didn’t plan to direct a movie like Thor: Ragnarok for his filmmaking career and he really took the project because he was poor. He explained, “You know what? I had no interest in doing one of those films. It wasn’t on my plan for my career as an auteur. But I was poor and I’d just had a second child, and I thought, ‘You know what, this would be a great opportunity to feed these children.’” Waititi added, “And Thor, let’s face it — it was probably the least popular franchise. I never read Thor comics as a kid. That was the comic I’d pick up and be like ‘Ugh.’ And then I did some research on it, and I read one Thor comic or 18 pages, or however long they are.”
Waititi divided fans with his follow-up, Thor: Love and Thunder, and has stated that he will not be returning to direct for an upcoming Thor 5. “I know that I won’t be involved. I’m going to concentrate on these other films that I’ve signed on for. So that’s six, seven years gone. I’d imagine another Thor would be a lot sooner than that.” However, he did expound, “But I love Marvel, I love working with them. I love Chris [Hemsworth]. We’re in an open relationship and it’s like, if they want to see other people I’m happy for that. I’d still get back into bed with them one day.”
Thor: Ragnarok‘s success opened doors for Waititi for many opportunities which now include a planned standalone Star Wars film. He joked, “It will be … dramatic pause… a Taika Waititi film.” Then, he continued, “It’s gonna piss people off.”