Taika Waititi Sets the Record Straight on His Plans for ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Akira’

     February 12, 2020

With an Oscar in hand for Jojo Rabbit, an episode of The Mandalorian in the can and now streaming on Disney+, and a big-budget follow-up to his MCU crowd-pleaser Thor: Ragnarok on the way, Taika Waititi‘s decades-long career is currently bearing fruit in big ways. But rather than look back on past accomplishments, recent though they may be, many Waititi fans are looking forward, especially when it comes to a big-name franchise in Star Wars and the acclaimed anime classic, Akira.

Waititi has already firmly planted his filmmaking flag in Star Wars as both an actor in, and director for, the Disney+ series The Mandalorian. But since the Star Wars series can act as a proving ground for a bigger stage, fans have been wondering if the powers that be want to elevate Waititi to the director’s chair for the future of their franchise; we reported as much not that long ago. But in Variety’s wide-ranging chat with the filmmaker following his Oscars win, Waititi clarified the Star Wars of it all:

I wish there was a better story, I’ll put it that way. Are there discussions about the “Star Wars” film? Like, yeah, I discussed with my friends in 1996 how cool “Star Wars” was. That’s what they’re going off … I think people see me hanging out with people, especially with “Star Wars,” and think I’m having some big discussions about it. I would f—ing love to … If it was right. I would want to do any kind of movie if it made sense, and if it felt not like career suicide.

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Image via Marvel Studios

So while we put a pin in Waititi’s Star Wars plans until (if and when) Disney decides to announce them officially, what about that Akira live-action movie that Waititi was attached to? He was in talks to direct way back in September of 2017 and shared his casting plans a few weeks after that. The movie even got a 2021 release date, signifying that the project might actually happen. But then, Waititi’s busy schedule and a lengthy delay for Akira surrounded the whole thing in question marks once again. Here’s how it stands, according to Waititi:

The whole thing went on hold. We had to keep pushing the dates, and it encroached on the “Thor” dates, which were immovable. So “Akira” ended up shifting two years down the track … Post-“Thor.” So I’m not sure if even in two years I’d be — I don’t know what I’m doing in f—ing two days … I think eventually it will happen. I’m just not sure if I’ll be doing it.

Either Waititi’s being diplomatic about both Star Wars and Akira, or he’s just being earnest; all signs point to the latter. The good news is that we have Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder to look forward to when it arrives on November 5, 2021.

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