Taika Waititi’s take on Marvel’s God of Thunder is being received as a breath of fresh air, in an otherwise stagnant superhero genre. Wherein just about every other Marvel or DC movie is locked into grimly-serious world-ending threats, Waititi realized the absurdity of a demigod who throws a magic hammer, wears an ornate scarlet cape, and speaks in a quasi-British accent. Waititi paired Thor with the even more over-the-top gamma-irradiated Hulk, dropped the two into a gladiator arena, and mined comedy gold from every crazy moment the two shared on-screen.
Waititi’s gamble — rebooting Thor in the final film of his trilogy — is paying off big time. Thor: Ragnarok earned solid reviews and is poised to crack $100 million during its opening (domestic) weekend; according to THR, the film has already pulled $12.8 million in 10 overseas markets since Tuesday. Who knew that a talking Hulk and a hammerless Thor was precisely what Hollywood needed to lead off 2017’s fall and holiday movie schedule?
As a New Zealand-based filmmaker, Waititi was relatively unknown here in America before Thor: Ragnarok; his previous three films were obscure comedy hybrids with small, but dedicated followings. Given the impending success of Thor: Ragnarok, it’s fair to assume that Waititi will have his pick of projects. So what does the Wellington native want to do next?
Speaking with io9, Waititi apparently desires spending more time in Marvel’s MCU:
In all honesty, I reckon I could probably bring something pretty unique to any of the franchises. So I’d love to see Black Widow… as something crazy and a bit funnier than we expect it to be. Because we know her story and it’s very sullen and very dark and her history is very dark. But! What’s the funny version of that? What’s the more entertaining version of that?”
Unexpected choice? Maybe, maybe not. Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has shown undeniable comedic skills in each of her Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America appearances to-date — and what could be funnier than a reformed Soviet super-spy whose best buddy, Hawkeye, goes to war with a bow and arrow? Sure, I’ll bite.
Given the thousands of Marvel characters ripe for exploit, what makes Black Widow so intriguing to Waititi?
I really go for the underdog, [and] I think there’s a way in with any of the characters. You just have to find it and find what honors what’s already there with the source material but also brings it into a more entertaining form for the audience.”
Fair point. Marvel has clearly established humor as a major key to their ongoing movie and TV successes, and Waititi clearly doubled-down on said humor in Thor: Ragnarok — a character known more for being the receiver of jokes rather than the deliverer of punchlines. So if Waititi can make Thor: Ragnarok the funniest MCU film yet, who’s to say that Black Widow couldn’t or shouldn’t accomplish the same feat with this character?
Marvel president, Kevin Feige, has long been on-the-record with his desire to make a Black Widow movie. Speaking with Collider in 2016 he had this to say:
We’ve announced the next nine movies, 10 counting Civil War, through the end of 2019. Where we go beyond that are ongoing discussions that we’ll focus on in the next few years because we have a lot to do before then. Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.”
Feige’s desire notwithstanding, not much is known about Marvel’s Phase 4 films, beyond Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. If Black Widow is an ongoing focus for Marvel, and if Waititi is looking for his next MCU gig, and if fans continue to embrace Johansson’s character (why wouldn’t they?) then this is as likely and as reasonable a Phase 4 film as any that’s been suggested or rumored thus far.
Additionally, Marvel has only one female-led superhero film on the calendar, Captain Marvel. Given the massive success of DC’s Wonder Woman, the time is right for Marvel’s next female-led movie, and why dig deeper into canon when there’s already a viable and established candidate for the job, and a more-than-willing filmmaker to make it happen!
Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters on November 3, 2017.