Thor: Ragnarok Director Taika Waititi on How He’s Changing Things Up

For many years, filmmaker Taika Waititi established a name for himself with the smaller movies he made in his home country of New Zealand–movies like Eagle vs. Shark and What We Do in the Shadows, both with Jemaine Clement–so it was pretty surprising and exciting to see his name recently attached to the upcoming Marvel Studios threequel Thor: Ragnarok.

This weekend, Waititi brought his latest New Zealand-based film, The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, to the Sundance Film Festival. It’s a coming-of-age film that shows a lot more of his ability to do action with impressive car chases and stunts, as well as nods to The Terminator and the “Rambo” movies.  

SuperHeroHype had a chance to speak to Waititi about his interest and plans for entering the Marvel Universe and maybe changing things up a little.

“I feel like for me to keep this filmmaking job interesting, I gotta change it all the time,” he said about his decision to tackle a much bigger movie like Thor: Ragnarok. “This is an opportunity for me to make something that’s so out of my usual go-to topics and style of filmmaking and make something that’s big and exciting and to test myself. This is the thing. I’m so relaxed in my life right now that it doesn’t matter what happens. I just feel like this is just a great opportunity to learn something. You gotta do that, you just gotta keep learning and that’s what this is for me.”

“Plus also I collected comics as a kid and what filmmaker doesn’t have somewhere in their head that question, ‘Can I do a blockbuster?'” He also suggests that directing Thor: Ragnarok might make it easier for him to make start conversations about some of the bigger sci-fi movie ideas he’s had in mind to make.

So far, Waititi is pretty well known for his comedies and unique sense of humor, having directed a few episodes of HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords” as well. The previous Thor movies have had some humor in them, but we wondered how that might translate into a movie that’s about “Ragnarok.”

“Nobody knows what Ragnarok is,” he laughed. “I started reading about the actual Norse Ragnarok and that’s even more insane than the comics. Crazy!”

“But that’s what I’m going to really concentrate on, really make an effort to change the entire thing,” he continued. “For me, I want to treat this as if it was the first Thor film, so we’re going to redo it. You just have to flip it and freshen it up, like anything. It’s also part of a very well-established universe right now, but that’s why they got me.”

He told us he’s not worrying too much about what comes before or after his movie either.

“This is the cool thing is that anything goes in these early stages, ideas-wise. We really are in the early stages,” as they’re still very much in prep with plans to start filming in July. 

Thor: Ragnarok is due for release on November 7, 2017. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is still looking for distribution, but look for the rest of our interview with Taika at soon.