TAIKA WAITITI Returning to WRITE and DIRECT MCU’s “THOR 4”

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In the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe film franchise, certain superheroes and their associated films tend to represent particular storytelling genres from the original comic books they were sourced from. We have Iron Man as the tech-using hero, Captain America as the empowered soldier, Hulk as the monstrously strong force of nature, and Doctor Strange for the magically-themed adventures. Then we have Thor, whose genre seems to shift from “supernatural” to “cosmic” to “comedy” in three successive films. The third, 2018’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” actually was helped by its combination of spacefaring action and quirky hijinks. Marvel Studios seems to be sticking with that for “Thor 4.”

Entertainment Weekly notes that Taika Waititi, the New Zelander filmmaker that has been instrumental in the tonal shift of the MCU “Thor” films from straight super-heroics to potentially zany misadventures, is on board for “Thor 4” as both writer and director. Ostensibly this also means that, despite the definitive finale of “Avengers: Endgame” last April, Thor played by Chris Hemsworth has a feasible reason to return, as he is merely off-world (with the Guardians of the Galaxy) rather than dead, aged (via time travel) or retired from the superhero gig.

The fact that Waititi’s return to Thor and the MCU was confirmed now is notable, although it could also serve to sweeten fandom attendance at the upcoming 2019 San Diego Comic Con, where Marvel Studios does have a panel to discuss the post-“Endgame” scenario of the franchise. Another thing confirmed by word of the director’s return to the Marvel Studios production, is that Waititi is now officially off the planned Warner Bros. Pictures’ live-action remake of the seminal 1988 anime film “Akira,” which was due to be released in 2021.

While already established as a hit filmmaker in his native New Zealand with local blockbusters like 2016’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” Taika Waititi became an internationally prominent auteur following “Thor: Ragnarok.” The retooling of the genre and aesthetics made the third MCU Thor film into the best-reviewed and highest-earning of its mini-trilogy. Waititi also followed fellow MCU director Jon Favreau by acting in the production, providing motion-capture and voice to the rock-like humanoid alien Korg, who immediately became a dark horse breakout character as well.

Any further information on “Thor 4,” such as if other surviving characters of the sub-franchise like Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and Jeff Goldblum’s Grandmaster could return, will probably be revealed at the Marvel Studios panel at SDCC 2019, happening July 18-21.

Image courtesy of Variety

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