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Taika Waititi to Direct 'Thor 4' (Exclusive)

Meanwhile, development concerns force Warner Bros. to push back 'Akira.'
Taika Waititi   |   Phillip Faraone/Getty Images
Meanwhile, development concerns force Warner Bros. to push back 'Akira.'

Taika Waititi is returning to the many worlds of Thor.

Waititi has inked a deal to write and direct a follow-up to his 2017 smash, Thor: Ragnarok.

But his boarding of what would be a fourth installment of the Marvel franchise comes at a cost: Warner Bros.' long-gestating adaptation of Japanese manga Akira.

That project, which was penciled for a May 21, 2021, release and had Waititi testing actors in a worldwide search for talent, is being put on pause indefinitely as the two projects' production dates began to bump up against one another. Script development concerns caused Akira to push back its shooting start, and while some of those have been addressed, say sources, the dates were now too close for comfort.

Warners' next step for Akira is unclear. Several sources have said that the studio is keen on keeping Waititi involved for the long term and hopes to see him pick up Akira after Thor 4.

Waititi brought his own stamp to the Thor franchise with Ragnarok, infusing the movie with an idiosyncratic wit evident in his previous work like What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Audiences responded to the tune of almost $854 million worldwide, while critics’ raves put the movie at 93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. The pic also rejuvenated what had been a rare declining franchise performer for Marvel.

Chris Hemsworth is expected to reprise his career-defining role as the Asgardian god of thunder.

Next up for Waititi is Jojo Rabbit, a unique Nazi-era satire he directed for Fox Searchlight, which is set to open Oct. 18. Scarlett Johansson stars in the picture alongside Waititi, who portrays a boy's imaginary version of Adolf Hitler.

Waititi is repped by CAA and Manage-ment.

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