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The news earned plenty of excited reactions from fans online, but it came with one caveat: The live-action Akira adaptation he was working on has been shelved indefinitely by Warner Bros.
Plot details are still scarce, but the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame ended with a noticeably chunkier Thor shooting off into space with the Guardians of the Galaxy. This led many to speculate that Chris Hemsworth’s character would only co-star in the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 currently in the works, rather than getting his own standalone sequel.
Waititi’s previous MCU title, 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, earned $854 million in global sales and was praised for breathing life into a hero that, until then, had only a lukewarm history on screen. The movie also introduced Valkyrie, an Asgardian warrior played by Tessa Thompson and the MCU’s first canonically queer character (according to a deleted scene, at least), who’s likely to make a return in Thor 4.
For Thor stans, the news was like an answer to their prayers as many believe that Waititi is the best thing to happen to the Thor franchise since the MCU’s onset.
“Thor stans stay winning this is going to be a masterpiece,” one Twitter user wrote.
Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth, and Tessa Thompson on set for Thor 4 after the tragedy of Endgame pic.twitter.com/7PHOgbCKs7— Aniq ⎊ (@RaniqDesigns) July 16, 2019
The entire MCU fandom when they heard Taika Waititi is returning for Thor 4: pic.twitter.com/3Qq16odzZ5— Michael Patterson (@michaelp93) July 16, 2019
“Taika Waititi will direct and write Thor 4.”— ⎊ sᴛᴇᴘʜ ➐ ѕaw ғғн (@fuckn_marvel) July 16, 2019
WE’RE REALLY GETTING THOR 4 DIRECTED BY TAIKA WAITITI pic.twitter.com/vlGPUVi6Jj— thor 4 dir. taika waititi (@wintrweb) July 16, 2019
*thor 4 directed by taika waititi is happening*— norm’s manon (fan acc) (@reedushiddles) July 16, 2019
the whole fandom: pic.twitter.com/pS8sosk2ZH
Unfortunately, the news corresponds with the announcement that Waititi’s previous project, adapting the classic Japanese animated film Akira into a live-action remake, is on hold for the foreseeable future. The project has been in development since at least 2012 under various creative leads and was previously scheduled to hit theatres in 2021.
Waititi is hopefully coming back to inject some much-needed levity after the doom and gloom of MCU’s whole “disintegrating half of the universe” business.
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Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.