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Taika Waititi Returns to MCU as ‘Thor 4’ Director While Warner Bros. Delays ‘Akira’ Indefinitely

Waititi's previous MCU film, "Thor: Ragnarok," grossed over $850 million worldwide in fall 2017.

Taika Waititi'Avengers: Infinity War' film premiere, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 23 Apr 2018

Taika Waititi

Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Taika Waititi is officially returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to Variety, the writer-director has closed a deal with Disney and Marvel Studios to helm “Thor 4,” which will mark his return to Marvel after making the 2017 tentpole “Thor: Ragnarok.” Waititi’s “Thor” movie is widely credited with getting the Chris Hemsworth-led superhero franchise back on track after the critical misfire that was “Thor: The Dark World.” “Ragnarok” was released in theaters in November 2017 and grossed $854 million worldwide.

While Waititi’s involvement in “Thor 4” is now confirmed, plot details are remaining under wraps for now. The character ended this year’s record-breaking “Avengers: Endgame” by heading off with the Guardians of the Galaxy, which led many Marvel fans to wonder whether Thor would be getting his own standalone sequel or be appearing in James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” Perhaps Hemsworth will star in both. “Ragnarok” introduced Tessa Thompson’s warrior Valkyrie into the MCU and she’s expected to return to “Thor 4” as well.

The news of Waititi directing “Thor 4” comes as Warner Bros. puts a hold on “Akira.” The live-action adaptation of the popular Japanese manga and anime film is going on hiatus indefinitely, Variety reports. Waititi was in the process of casting the lead for the film but “creative concerns” have put the film back into development. Warner Bros. had set “Akira” for a release on May 21, 2021, but that date is now likely to be pulled. The “Akira” pushback has opened the door for Waititi to move on to “Thor 4” as his next project.

“Thor 4” is the latest Marvel film set for the MCU’s next phase. While Marvel Studios has yet to officially announce any movies after “Endgame” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” (expect some big news at Comic-Con this weekend), projects expected for the MCU Phase Four include “The Eternals,” “Black Widow,” and new films in the “Guardians,” “Black Panther,” and “Doctor Strange” franchises.

In addition to “Thor 4,” Waititi is gearing up to release his Fox Searchlight satire “Jojo Rabbit” in theaters this fall. The movie is being eyed to world premiere at the Venice Film Festival. The filmmaker also helmed episodes of the Disney+ “Star Wars” television series “The Mandalorian.”

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