After James Gunn was fired from directing Marvel’s third Guardians of the Galaxy film, fans wondered whether Taika Waititi – who made Marvel’s critically acclaimed Thor: Ragnarock, which contained much more humor than previous films starring the God of Thunder – could and would take over the franchise.
He told reporters in Los Angeles on Monday that he is definitely not directing Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
“For me, those are James’s films,” he told Rotten Tomatoes and a small group of reporters after a panel for FX’s What We Do in the Shadows adaptation at the Television Critics Association winter press tour. “Going into something like that, which has got his stamp all over it, would feel like going into someone’s house and going, ‘Hey, I’m your new dad, and this is how we make peanut butter sandwiches now.’ It just feels kind of awkward. I just wouldn’t know how to follow up those two films because those are his babies.”
Waititi is still in conversation with Marvel about future films, however.
“I’m not doing that movie, but I’m still hanging out with those guys and talking about new stuff,” he confirmed. “I don’t know what it might be yet, but, yeah, I want to do another movie with them for sure.
In the meantime, Waititi directed a few episodes of What We Do in the Shadows, which is based on his and Jemaine Clement‘s movie of the same name and premieres in March on FX, as well as some of Jon Favreau’s new Star Wars Disney+ series, The Mandalorian.
He called working in the Star Wars universe “amazing,” though he isn’t necessarily able to infuse as much of his signature humor into the series as he would have liked.
“Star Wars is just very different to the Marvel style,” he said. “They know that whatever was set up in the tone of the first films really should be kind of adhered to and that’s what the fans like, and you can’t really disrespect it, I guess, is a nice way of saying it. Can’t have too many jokes, but there’s a little bit. Definitely my tone is in there, with the dialogue and stuff like that.”
Waititi still had a lot of fun working in the Star Wars world.
“Favreau’s a genius and so smart and so good at what he does and creating these worlds. The scripts are really great,” he said. “It was really fun doing something in the Star Wars universe. It’s every kid’s dream just to see a stormtrooper. When you’re doing these scenes with like 50 or 60 of them, it’s pretty amazing.”
Currently, Waititi is working on his dark comedy Jojo Rabbit, based on the book Caging Skies by Christine Leunens and starring Roman Griffin Davis, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, Thomasin McKenzie, and Waititi. The titular character is a boy living during World War II whose imaginary friend is a version of Adolf Hitler (played by Waititi). He’s completing additional photography and plans to have the film finished by April for release in the fall or winter of this year.
“It’s very similar to the tone of my other films — not including Shadows and Ragnarok,” he clarified. It’s more like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Boy, and is more real-world than surreal, despite the concept. “[I like to] find a balance of tone in comedy and drama.”