Welcome back to cinematic nirvana. Actually, let me reword that. – Cracks knuckles – Welcome back to cinematic Valhalla. It’s official. Taika Waititi has signed a deal to return to the Thor franchise.
The Hollywood Reporter dropped the big news yesterday, announcing that Waititi will write and direct the follow-up to his 2017 smash, Thor: Ragnarok. The film was a hit with critics and fans. It stands at 93% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes (390 reviews) and earned a staggering $853,977,126 at the global box office. Waititi’s return means we can also expect Thor star Chris Hemsworth to reprise his role as the MCU’s wackiest beefcake.
Marvel won’t spill many details about their Phase Four movies. It wasn’t a sure thing that we would get more stories about the MCU’s founding characters. After all, Avengers: Endgame wrapped up The Avengers’ ten-year journeys.
Back in 2011, we met Thor as a smug, reckless, and immature prince. He cared more about finding the next thrill than ruling Asgard. We watched him grow up, ascend the throne, and lead his people – all while becoming one of the MCU’s funniest characters. Thor ended his arc when he passed on his duties to Valkyrie.
As much as we would like to watch Thor and The Guardians adventures together as The Asgardians of the Galaxy, it remained a possibility that Endgame was the last we had seen of the character. But working with a filmmaking genius like Waititi is an enticing prospect, and reason enough to lure Hemsworth back to the role.
This news also standouts because it shows Disney’s willingness to work with talented filmmakers with distinct styles. You don’t hire someone like Waititi to make a gritty, joyless action flick. You don’t bring him on board a project without handing over the keys to the kingdom. Waititi infuses every film he touches with an ebullient comedic soul. And you can see his fingerprints all over Ragnarok.
Thor: Ragnarok is one of Marvel’s funniest films. It also course-corrected the Thor character by turning him into a clueless, bro-y hunk. This character alteration made its way into The Avengers movies, where Thor had great comedic chemistry with characters like Rocket and Star Lord.
Thor: Ragnarok served up the perfect blend of action, comedy, and subversive themes. If you’re in the camp that comic book movies are just soulless commercial entertainment, go back and rewatch Ragnarok.
Peel back the top layer, and you realize the film is about colonization. The plot reveals that Odin wasn’t always a benevolent ruler. The Asgardians’ storied history was built on years of atrocities; acts of violence so horrid that Odin buried them, covered them up and ignored the consequences. Sound familiar?
Waititi, a New Zealander, knows a thing or three about colonization. And his film smartly addresses issues like slavery, the plight of refugees, and seeing history through rose-coloured glasses.
On a lighter note, I hope that Thor 4 brings us one step closer to a Korg spinoff movie. #FreeKorg
It’s going to be a while until the next Thor film goes into production. If you’re looking for a Waititi fix, his upcoming film, Jojo Rabbit arrives in theatres on October 18.
Disney hasn’t announced a release date for Thor 4.