By Julie Catherine
Academy Award winner Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Jojo Rabbit, The Mandalorian) was recently announced to direct and co-write an upcoming Star Wars film. And, as such, we thought this would be a great time to explore why Waititi is a perfect choice to lead Star Wars into the future. With the conclusion of The Rise of Skywalker, it feels like wave one of the Disney era Star Wars films has drawn to a close. Ushering in a new era of films and a new direction for the franchise now that the Skywalker Saga has concluded is a daunting task, but one that we think Taika Waititi is expertly prepared for. Here are 3 reasons why we think so:
1. Experience in the Star Wars Universe
Taika Waititi’s involvement in Star Wars began with The Mandalorian on writing and directing the season finale finale, in addition to voicing IG-11 in the show. This introduction into the Star Wars universe is vital in showing that Waititi is more than well equipped to tackle subsequent Star Wars adventures. Waititi directed the episode with such precision and a unique vision, while simultaneously infusing his own unique vision into the episode. Although there are a wealth of acclaimed directors who would love to lead a Star Wars project, it’s encouraging that Lucasfilm is hiring someone who has already expertly navigated a Star Wars and shown what they can bring to such a project.
2. Expertly Blends Action, Humor, and Drama
There are few, if any, directors out there who carefully strike the balance between action, humor, and drama. Sometimes too much humor can bog down an otherwise dramatic, moving narrative. Other times, a movie may be filled with such relentless action that it renders the drama and humor ineffective. Taika Waititi across his diverse range of films has already demonstrated that he can intelligently blend these facets of storytelling. Jojo Rabbit most recently exhibited this facet of Waititi’s skill set, delivering an emotionally powerful, heartbreaking tale amidst a relentlessly funny movie. Star Wars has a long standing tradition of similarly blending humor and action. From A New Hope to The Phantom Menace to The Force Awakens, Star Wars is continually able to produce hilarious moments and character dynamics, while also conveying some jaw dropping action. Waititi demonstrated this pattern in the finale of The Mandalorian, as exemplified by the great opening banter between two Scout Troopers and the emotional sacrifice of IG-11 to save the child. To execute this properly requires paying deep attention to the delicate balance of humor and action, laugher and suspense, etc. This is something that Waititi showed in Thor: Ragnarok, as that film has moments of great humor, such as “He’s a friend from work!”, yet also the tragic death of the title character’s father, Odin. Jojo Rabbit also exemplified this as a movie full of cutting edge, offbeat jokes, but a final act that is so emotionally moving.
3. A Unique Vision and Style
After the end of the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars is in a new age of films, one where creativity is paramount to the continual success of the overall franchise. With Thor: Ragnarok, Waititi demonstrated his truly unique vision, one that is completely different from any other director or writer working in Hollywood today. Ragnarok exemplifies sheer creativity, taking a character in Thor that was previously thought of as bland and average and injecting new found humor and flat out weirdness, making him one of the most beloved heroes in the MCU today. Waititi is a forward thinking director, which is exactly what Star Wars needs at this moment in time. New stories will have to be different from the Skywalker Saga in order to stand out and be their own entity, and Waititi has proved time and time again with his filmography that he is the person to do just that.
The news that Oscar winner Taika Waititi is now attached to co-write and direct a Star Wars feature film was met with a warm reception, with most fans completely on board with his hiring. Waititi is incredibly talented in multiple different areas, making him the perfect person to take Star Wars forward. Moreover, his co-writer, Oscar nominated Krysty Wilson-Cairns, is an excellent choice, especially given the awards success of her latest film 1917. Despite no knowledge of the time period that this film will be set in, nor any story information in general, fans will still be excited that Waititi is coming aboard.
Images courtesy of Lucasfilm, Paramount, and Disney+