One of New Zealand’s most celebrated sons, film director and actor Taika Waititi, notable for cult hits such as What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, as well as Thor: Ragnarok, has made the jump to the Star Wars universe. He was recently cast as the assassin droid IG-11, who goes on to redeem himself, in the acclaimed Star Wars series The Mandalorian. He was also brought on to direct the season finale of the series, which won him rave reviews from critics and fans. This has naturally prompted speculation as to whether or not he will move on to direct a feature film within the Star Wars franchise, given that he is now firmly embedded in the Disney sphere.
With his trademark flippancy, Waititi said that he would “obviously” love to be part of one of Lucasfilm’s future installments, but that for now he would merely settle for IG-11 being “the hero of the entire season.”
As well as Star Wars and his more dry, Kiwi-focused comedies, Waititi’s adventures are set to include the upcoming Marvel studio release Thor: Love and Thunder. He is credited as both writer and director and its release date has been set as Nov. 5, 2021.
Yet despite all the acclaim, his newest offering, the wartime era comedy-drama JoJo Rabbit, has divided audiences and critics, with some declaring it heart-warming and brave, while others claiming that Waititi’s brand of irreverent, off-beat humour trivialises the subject matter and risks taking a far too light approach when dramatising the horrors of Nazi Germany.
This doesn’t appear to have dampened his chances at winning awards, as it’s been nominated in six different categories for this year’s Oscars.
The director claimed this was because the script had become “a little bit more relevant.” He was glad it had taken eight years to see the light of day because “I think the film has become more important now.”