For some time, New Zealand-born director Taika Waititi’s name has been associated with the much-discussed live-action version of cult eastern sci-fi epic Akira – originally the manga story and then as an ambitious animated film released in 1988. Though no names had been announced, it was known Waititi was in the process of casting actors the project. However, it now appears that the director has put his involvement on hiatus and that Warners‘ have postponed progress on that for the time being. It is not known whether they will wait for Waititi to become free again (which seems to be their preferred option) or whether they will seek out another director to helm the project.
According to industry site The Hollywood Reporter, the reason that Taiki has left is that the dates for Akira, originally scheduled for May 2021, were starting to clash with another project to which he was becoming attached: the fourth Thor movie.
Waititi successfully directed the third Thor film (Ragnarok), bringing with him a quirky, subversive tone that proved a critical and financial success for the franchise and Marvel‘s cinematic plans. With the third phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming to a close with Infinity War and Spider-man: Far From Home, there have been questions about what was going to happen with the surviving heroes of the MCU – with the expectation that a lot of news will come out of the next week’s San Diego Comic Con. However the news formally broke today, ahead of that event… though it’s been likely for some time it would happen.
There’s no details on plot yet, but given the anarchic tone and success of Ragnarok and the fact that at the end of Infinity War, the Thunder God was heading off with the likes of Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax and Rocket into deep space aboard the ‘Benatar’, it’s not out of the question that the story could be a very Asgardians of the Galaxy in tone. The third ‘Guardians…‘ stalled after the James Gunn controversy and though that has now been resolved with the director back on board and working from his completed script, one question was whether Thor would feature in the film. One of these movies will answer the question about Thor’s possibly ongoing involvement with the crew.
Chris Hemsworth, though he has completed his contract with Marvel, looks certain to reprise the title role and confirmed recently that he and Waititi had been together over part of the New Year’s holiday brainstorming ideas.