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After making his mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Taika Waititi is diving into a new comic book world.
The filmmaker is attached to direct and co-write a feature adaptation of The Incal, the seminal 1970s comic book creation from Alejandro Jodorowsky and the late artist Moebius. Waititi is teaming with his What We Do in the Shadows and Flight of the Conchords collaborator Jemaine Clement, as well as Peter Warren, to pen the script.
The Incal centers on intergalactic private eye John Difool, who gets caught up in a grand space opera after happening on a mystical artifact called the Incal. Along with a ragtag crew, Difool must go on a journey to save the universe. Echoes of the influential comic can be seen in films such as Blade Runner (1982), The Fifth Element (1997) and The Matrix (1999).
No studio or streaming service is yet attached to the project and the Incal movie marks the first time publisher Humanoids has delved into the world of film. Humanoids executives, who note the publisher has rebuffed inquiries from Hollywood over the years, say they prefer to have Waititi develop the script before deciding on distribution. A first draft of the script is expected by the end of the year.
“We already have something very substantial, and it’s a complicated book. It’s vast,” Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger told The Hollywood Reporter. “We love the way he approached it.”
In comics, The Incal launched the Jodoverse, which includes titles such as The Metabarons and Megalex. Waititi could conceivably have a hand guiding the Jodoverse in both film and television.
“The goal is to give as much freedom as possible to our talent,” Humanoids Group COO Matthieu Coppet told THR.
Adapting The Incal is an ambitious task and is something of a full-circle moment for the title, as the comic can count another ambitious sci-fi adaptation as part of its origin story. Jodorowsky dreamed up elements of The Incal when he attempted to direct an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. A year ago, Jodorowsky spoke with THR in-depth for the 40th anniversary of its launch.
Before signing on to The Incal, Waititi got the blessing of Jodorowsky, 92, during an emotional Zoom session in which the two men had a meeting of minds over the property.
“The films and graphic novels of Alejandro Jodorowsky have influenced me and so many others for so long. I was stunned to be given the opportunity to bring his iconic characters to life and I am grateful to Alejandro, Fabrice and everyone at Humanoids for trusting me to do so,” said Waititi in a statement.
Added Jodorowsky in his own statement: “When Humanoids’ CEO Fabrice Giger introduced me to Taika Waititi’s work, it became obvious to me that he was the one. I fully trust Taika’s creativity to give The Incal a stunning take, intimate and at the same time of cosmic proportions.”
Humanoids will produce along with David Jourdan’s Primer Entertainment, which acquired a stake in the publisher in 2019.
Waititi is one of Hollywood’s most in-demand directors. He has wrapped filming on Marvel Studios’ Thor: Love and Thunder (due out July 8, 2022) and is also developing a Star Wars feature. An original screenplay Oscar winner for Jojo Rabbit, he has the Searchlight soccer drama Next Goal Wins in the can. Waititi is represented by CAA and Manage-ment.
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