Thor: Ragnarok remains one of Marvel Studios’ best-reviewed movies and, crucially for a franchise which struggled more than those centred around Iron Man and Captain America, it was also a box office hit.
For some fans, the shift to wacky humour didn’t quite resonate; after all, Thor had been a fantasy tale and while Thor: The Dark World fell short of being the Asgard-meets-Game of Thrones mashup we’d expected, it was far grittier than filmmaker Taika Waititi’s colour-splashed vision for the God of Thunder.
Talking on the Smartless podcast, Waititi reflected on joining the MCU and admitted that he only agreed to helm Thor: Ragnarok because it meant he’d receive a sizeable payday.
“You know what? I had no interest in doing one of those films,” he said. “It wasn’t on my plan for my career as an auteur. But I was poor and I’d just had a second child, and I thought, ‘You know what, this would be a great opportunity to feed these children.'”
“And ‘Thor,’ let’s face it – it was probably the least popular franchise. I never read ‘Thor’ comics as a kid. That was the comic I’d pick up and be like ‘Ugh.’ And then I did some research on it, and I read one ‘Thor’ comic or 18 pages, or however long they are.”
In fairness, plenty of successful comic book movie directors didn’t grow up reading comic books, so Waititi isn’t saying anything too shocking in that sense. However, his research building down to reading a single comic is a little more…surprising.
There’s a good chance he’s exaggerating, of course, as Thor: Ragnarok did end up featuring a fair few deep-cut references to the source material. The credit for those may go to writers Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher L. Yost, of course.
For Waititi, being offered the chance to helm the movie was a sign Marvel Studios was desperate. “I think there was no place left for them to go with that,” he said of the threequel. “I thought, ‘Well, they’ve called me in, this is really the bottom of the barrel.'”
Waititi stuck around the MCU, playing Korg in Avengers: Endgame and later helming Thor: Love and Thunder. He wrote the latter alongside Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and it drew mixed reviews, leading to the majority of fans – and even Chris Hemsworth – arguing that the Asgardian superhero needed another reset.
According to Waititi, he won’t be involved with Thor 5 and that’s not exactly led to any sort of great outpouring of disappointment. Now, the filmmaker will turn his sights to Star Wars, and he’s already warned fans that he expects his approach to that Galaxy Far, Far Away to “p*ss” them off.
Do these comments about Thor: Ragnarok come as a surprise?