Taika Waititi Admits He Only Did ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ For The Paycheck, Says Golden Avenger’s Run During His Childhood Was “The Comic I’d Pick Up And Be Like ‘Ugh’”
To the surprise of absolutely no one, now former Thor series director Taika Waititi has admitted that the only reason he ever agreed to work on the God of Thunder’s film series was not out a love or interest in the character, but rather because the job simply allowed him an opportunity to collect a paycheck.
The Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder director offered this insight into his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while speaking to actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett for the November 27th episode of their Smartless talk show podcast [Time Stamp: 29:04].
Following an opening discussion surrounding his latest film Next Goal Wins, Waititi was eventually pressed by Bateman for insight as to why he, with all of his eccentricities, ever agreed to do Thor: Ragnarok.
Opining that “Marvel is so incredible at doing their thing, they have got a product that is just incredible. It’s made this industry twice as healthy as it’s ever been,” – a comment to which Arnett later joked “To watch you suck Marvel’s d–k for so long was a real treat” – Bateman then asserted, “But I think one should, and does and needs to adhere to certain parameters because that audience expects certain boxes to be checked” before asking Waititi, “What made you think that your incredibly unique perspective on things would be a fit for something that you would probably agree needs to stay inside certain boundaries?”
In turn, Waititi admitted, “You know what? I had no interest in doing one of those films, 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.’”
“So they call, and they ask ‘Do you want to do this?'” the director further recalled of his first dance with the Golden Avenger. “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. I was still baffled by this character,” he added. “I thought that, if there was anything I could bring, it was “character”. Just like looking at Thor as a character, he’s a billionaire who lives in space and he looks ridiculous, and that was sort of the end of that. So I was like ‘Lets’ highlight that’. He’s a rich kid. I pitched him that he hates germ.”
Then asked by Bateman, “That didn’t scare the s–t out of [Marvel]?”, Waititi asserted in turn, “I think there was no place left for them go with that thing. I thought, “‘Well, if they’ve called me in, this is really the bottom of the barrel for them.’”
Given Waititi’s birth year of 1975, it’s likely that he began his childhood reading of comic books sometime in either the latter half of that decade or the beginning of the next.
As such, Waititi’s introduction point to Thor’s solo book likely occurred sometime during the runs of either Roy Thomas, Mark Gurenwald, and Ralph Macchio, or Walt Simonson. However, the director did not specify which of these runs – all of which were solid in their own right, with Simonson’s even going on to see critical, popular, and historical acclaim – left him altogether disinterested in the Norse hero.
Luckily for what few fans the MCU still has – and apparently the director himself given his apparent disdain for the source material – Waititi has confirmed that while the Thor franchise is supposedly gearing up for a fifth outing, it will be doing so without his creative guidance.
Asked by Business Insider on the red carpet for Next Goal Wins if there were any veracity to the recent rumors regarding a potential MCU return for Thor, Waititi affirmed, “I wouldn’t know if that’s accurate. I know that I won’t be involved.”
“I’m going to concentrate on these other films that I’ve signed on for,” he concluded.