There are rumblings in the Star Wars universe, or, if you will, a disturbance in the Force. Word has broken that Academy Award winning director Taika Waititi is to co-write and direct a Star Wars film. As with all news related to the franchise, obsessed fans are still trying to decide if they should be outraged or not. No doubt, an influencer will let them know soon enough. But meanwhile, maybe you can make your own prediction on what the fandom reaction will be at an online betting NZ site.
That isn’t really an option, but the point is that fandom reaction these days is both extreme, and seemingly random.
Jokes aside, there is some room for concern. One major twist in the tale is that Waititi himself made a few pretty snide remarks in regards to the Star Wars universe not so long ago, indicating that he may not exactly be the right man for the job. A random Twitter user suggested him for the job as a Star Wars director, back in 2017. He responded to this suggestion stating that he would be fired within a week, were he to ever really get the job. Because, he elaborated, he actually likes to finish his films.
A little jab on his part as at how scattered and broken the Star Wars universe has been lately, with a near total reshoot of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Ouch.
At this point, you might just have a great big question mark above your head. Wait, who are we talking about? Taika Waititi is a New Zealand director, and is most well-known for directing Thor: Ragnarok. Though he also directed the lesser known comedy-dramas Boy, and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. It was the rather excellent dark comedy Jojo Rabbit that earned him a Best Picture nomination, and the Academy Award for Best Adapted screenplay. If you haven’t see Jojo Rabbit, perhaps give it a watch. It’s both utterly bizarre, hilarious, and moving all at the same time.
What you think of that particular Thor film, though, and how it fits into the rest of the Marvel Cimenatic Universe, should indicate how appropriate you think he is for Star Wars. Many thought that Thor: Ragnarok was a bit of black sheep as far as the franchise goes, given that it leaned rather heavily into comedy. But then the character Thor as a whole was a bit ill fitted into the franchise regardless, with his personality and tone lurching jarringly between film appearances.
Star Wars Chaos
So now we know who Waititi is, let’s take a look at what’s been happening in the Star Wars universe. In 2014 Gareth Edwards was signed up to direct Rogue One. In 2016 he was booted off the project, and extensive reshoots took place, courtesy of Tony Gilroy.
In 2015 Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were signed up for Solo: A Star Wars Story. In 2017 they were booted off and Ron Howard took over.
In 2015 Colin Trevorrow was signed up for Rise of Skywalker. In 2017 he was booted off the project, and JJ Abrams took over.
What To Expect
If we don’t beat around the bush, and say it like it is, this is the truth; Star Wars, as a franchise, is a studio run machine. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, and as such, is so closely and carefully guarded by dozens of suit wearing executives that attempting to insert personality into and of its products is akin to sacrilege.
Star Wars films must abide by the rules, must walk the middle of the road, must never offend any person or group ever, and must always be 100% Star Wars. Hence, attempting to bring in directors with personality and vision is a recipe for disaster, since those directors will, guaranteed, attempt to resist the guiding hand of the overbearing executives.
If you haven’t already guessed, Waititi being thrown into this machine seems like a bad idea. Explosions of conflict are almost a certainty. Though, this is just speculation, of course. We’ll just have to wait and see.