Taika Waititi has been approached to helm a next-phase Star Wars project

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It’s honestly taken me this long to really understand that Star Wars Episodes VII-IX were all flying by the seat of their pants. I truly thought that after Disney had shelled out $4 billion for LucasFilm, they mapped out where the stories would go and they would have launched the “final trilogy” with a set plan. How could they not with all of that money at stake and with all of those eager fans? But they didn’t. Instead, they gave Kathleen Kennedy free rein and she hired of series of bros to milk the franchise with ill-conceived films, several of which became the biggest and most expensive production catastrophes of the 2010s. She also hired JJ Abrams, who had no interest in finishing what he started with The Force Awakens. Then they left Rian Johnson out to dry when fanboys had issues with The Last Jedi. The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t made because of a particularly urgent need to complete the STORY. It was made because of corporate decisions.

Now that The Rise of Skywalker is out and the “last trilogy” is done, Disney has already said they’re taking a break from Star Wars for a few years. Well, they’re taking a break from Star Wars movies – they’ll still have tons of Star Wars content for Disney+, like The Mandolorian. But it will be a few years before we have another Star Wars movie in theaters. So… did Kathleen Kennedy and Disney learn their lesson? Are they actually going to sit down and map out where to go from here? Or are they just going to borrow a “hot director” from Marvel, give him $300 million and let him do whatever? In this case, I do think Taika Waititi could do something interesting though:

Following the recent installment Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the space-fantasy franchise is set to go on pause, in terms of theatrical movies. But that does not mean the process has ground to a halt. Taika Waititi, the filmmaker behind the Oscar-nominated Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok, has been approached to develop a Star Wars movie, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.

It is unclear where things stand in those talks. It is also unclear whether the project is separate from the one being developed by Kevin Feige, with whom he closely worked on Ragnarok, or a separate Star Wars project. Disney and Lucasfilm, producers of the Star Wars movies, had no comment.

The move comes as two Star Wars streams arc in different directions. Waititi is coming off great acclaim from the fan community for directing the final episode of season one of The Mandalorian, the live-action series on Disney+ that became must-watch TV in part thanks to Baby Yoda. He also voiced the popular droid character, IG-11. Additionally, Jojo Rabbit, which he wrote and directed, earlier this week earned six Oscar nominations, including for best picture.

Working on Mandalorian put Waititi in the same sphere as Jon Favreau, the series’ creator, writer and executive producer and who is now emerged as a key architect of the Star Wars universe moving forward. Favreau is also a key player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, overseen by Feige. (Separately, there is a sense that Mandalorian could act as a training and testing ground for directors hoping for a larger role in Star Wars. Deborah Chow, who became the first female director to helm anything Star Wars, is now readying to direct the next Star Wars series, the one focusing on Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, with Ewan McGregor set to reprise the role.)

Meanwhile, the theatrical Star Wars experience is drawing to a close for the time being. Rise of Skywalker, while recently crossing the $1 billion mark, marks the lowest-performing entry in the main Skywalker Saga series since Disney relaunched the franchise in 2015 with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

[From THR]

If the future of Stars is “fewer bros, more Baby Yoda, Taika and women of color,” then maybe we’ll finally get some interesting projects. I guess. I feel weird about mocking all of the Disney-Star Wars films because they made billions of dollars, but I feel like this era of the franchise will not be looked upon kindly.

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25 Responses to “Taika Waititi has been approached to helm a next-phase Star Wars project”

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  1. OH NO says:

    Disney better do right by him.

    JJ Abrams dropped the ball and after Game of Thrones S8, D&D should not be let anywhere near another franchise

    • Lucy says:

      D&D are losing projects left and right. *Pretends to be shocked*

    • Veronica S. says:

      Eh, honestly, I put the dropped ball squarely on Disney’s hands. It was their decision to not to get together a cohesive story and team together across three movies. (Even if the OT had different directors for each film, Lucas was still involved at the production level.) It was also their decision to go ahead with a script by Rian Johnson that had no logical continuation of the character and story developments of TFA (which of course it didn’t because he stated he wrote it before the film was finished – what editor thought that was a good idea!), which meant Abrams basically had to reboot AGAIN after inter-trilogy film went so wildly off course. Both directors made mistakes, but the bulk of the mess I place on Disney for rushing that cash cow out to pasture and underestimating the patience of the fanbase.

      • TheOriginalMia says:

        Exactly, Veronica! Disney screwed up the sequels. They should have had a plan together with the storyline mapped out across those films. Even Lucas knew what he wanted from his trilogies. Disney has Marvel and Kevin Feige right there and could have picked his brains if the SW brain trust was MIA. Ugh. Still mad! I refuse to pay money for TRoS. That crap will be on Disney+ soon.

    • SM says:

      I think Taika is the one who should do right by Disney and send them off to a far away land accompanied by a middle finger. This shit is boring and confusing as hell. They just should stop reviving the same old thing. Let this franchise die it’a own death. Why not give Taika money and opportunity to come up with something teuly fresh and original. He proved he is a man for the job.

  2. tealily says:

    I’m pretty ambivalent about endless Star Wars, but I enjoyed The Mandalorian, and Taika’s episode was very compelling. I think he’ll do a great job with this, and not just because I’m a Taika fan girl (which I totally am). I think he has the right sensibility about him to do something that is both fun to watch and respectful to the spirit of the universe, while also giving us some new and sorely needed updates.

  3. Silver Charm says:

    There’s too much Star Wars.

  4. JJ says:

    I can’t wait! Hope something comes of this. Loved Thor Rag, loved Wilderpeople, Shadows & his ep of the Mandalorian. Everything Taika all the way!!

  5. Digital Unicorn says:

    This news excites me – I LOVE his work. He’d take things down an interesting path.

    I saw JoJo Rabbit over the weekend and its just great. Sam Rockwell should have gotten the Oscar nom but I can see why they gave ScarJo one she was good in it.

  6. Lucy says:

    Ah, Taika. What a man, what a man, what mighty good man. He’s like a hot Tim Burton, with a slight dash of Chaplin.

    • smcollins says:

      Wow, that description is so spot on! I never would have come up with that mash-up, but you’re absolutely right.

  7. lemonylips says:

    I love Taika. Have since What we do in the shadows. That said, I’d rather see more of his original work than another Star Wars. I get if he wants to jump on that train but Taika, please – don’t. He can do whatever in Hollywood now – better use it for something that’s his.

  8. Case says:

    Great filmmaker (I love What We Do in the Shadows), but I don’t like him for Star Wars. He has a very specific style that doesn’t fit this universe at all. I wasn’t thrilled with his episode of The Mandalorian. Idk. I don’t think he’s right for this.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Yeah, that’s kind of my issue with some of these names coming up. Great work historically. Not work that will be employed well in SW. (Johnson’s success with “Knives Out” is a great example of how some styles just *don’t* work for certain stories but do for others.) Star Wars works specifically because it’s a deep fantasy that believes very much in itself. That kind of slightly simplistic but genuine affection for its own absurdity falls flat when you bring a self-aware tone to it. There’s an innocence to it that doesn’t mesh well with cynicism. It makes me wonder if Disney really understand what they were purchasing when they went for it (beyond CASH COW).

      • Case says:

        And it’s strange that they don’t want to embrace that genuine affection and purity given that it’s DISNEY. I was happy with Disney purchasing Star Wars because their stories aren’t cynical and they understand how to bring magic into stories. I loved the sequel trilogy for the most part (I personally loved TLJ because I think Rian captured the thesis statement of Star Wars beautifully), but hiring people like Taika doesn’t feel right for this particular franchise. He has goofy and off-the-wall humor, not a magical space fantasy vibe.

  9. Mia4s says:

    Taika’s directing/voice work on the Mandalorian finale was fantastic…BUT….my interest is not so much in who is directing as who is writing. Rise of Skywalker looked great and had some great action. The writing was a clusterf**k. Solo looked great and had some wonderful visual moments…the writing?: “Oh you’re alone? You’re Solo!” Ugh, so bad!

    Taika didn’t write any of the Mandalorian (Jon Favreau wrote most of it); so I don’t really know what his “Star Wars” would be. I guess I’ll go with cautious optimism.

  10. LP says:

    Best part of this story is Taika’s tweet yesterday after this story broke- just the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album 😂 I do hope they lock him down for a project but I they’d have do give him a LOT more creative control than they’re used to; he only agreed to Marvel when they gave him carte blanche!

  11. Veronica S. says:

    If he’s doing a side/television project, it’ll work just fine, but like Johnson, his style is not something I’d think would mesh well with main movie universe. Part of the problem (and mind you, there were a lot of them) with the new SW movies is that they’re aping the style of the MCU films, including that wryer, self-aware tone that just….absolutely does not work for Star Wars. SW is inherently a very earnest take on a fairly conservative mythological story basis by design. It wasn’t anywhere near as open ended as Disney thought it was, and that really shows in how they struggled to link the PT/OT with the newer films without completely and inevitability diminishing any of the narrative gains made in those films.

    I’ve seen enough of Rian Johnson’s other work to say he’s not what I’d call a genuinely bad director, but man was he a bad choice for SW. Either his style just didn’t mesh with the content or he legitimately didn’t understand the material and audience he was working with. JJ Abrams got a little closer to the feel of the old movies, but even he wasn’t quite on the same page, and there was really no way to wrap it up cleanly after Johnson took such a radically different approach with TFA. Hopefully, if they try again, they’ll employ some common sense this time and, I dunno, attempt cohesion in story rather than basically making three films telling very different stories.

    • iceberg says:

      I agree with you completely – from the comments on “wryer, self-aware” tone to the “earnest[ness]” of SW thing and on RJ vs JJ. Well said!

  12. Nuzzybear says:

    (tensely reads, then cautiously lowers her Battleaxe of Taika Waititi Defense)

  13. Snazzy says:

    As long as there’s more Baby Yoda, I’m fine with it!

  14. The Recluse says:

    All I can say is that this had better not get in the way of any future seasons of What We Do In The Shadows. That series is underrated treasure.

  15. Granger says:

    I haven’t finished yet, but I’m really enjoying The Mandalorian. I hated Rise of Skywalker. So much of that plot came right out of left field. I wondered if the person who wrote the script hated Star Wars and was just punking everyone.