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SYFY WIRE Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi to direct adaptation of Alejandro Jodorowsky's neo-noir space saga 'The Incal'

Hopefully this gets further than Jodorowsky's Dune back in the day.

By Josh Weiss
Taika Waititi Final Incal Header

Taika Waititi's ever-growing slate of genre projects just got a little bigger. The Oscar-winning filmmaker behind Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit confirmed this week that he'll be tackling a big screen adaptation of The Incal, a series of graphic novels created by none other than the legendary duo of writer Alejandro Jodorowsky and illustrator Jean Giraud (aka Moebius).

The series, which first kicked off in 1980, follows John Difool, a lowly detective operating in a seedy dystopian world who finds his entire life upended when he stumbles upon a mystical artifact called The Incal. This unintended discovery puts Difool in the sights of powerful enemies like Metabaron (the galaxy's greatest warrior) and tasks him with saving all life everywhere.

"Imagine how I feel, that someone other than me will film The Incal," Jodorowsky, who is famous for his failed adaptation of Dune in the 1970s, said in a video released by Incal publisher, Humanoids. "If I were 40-years-old, I would be enraged! Depressed, as if it were stolen from me ... But now that I'm 92-years-old, I'm not in any condition to make this huge epic."

"I want to explore those ideas deeply," added Waititi. "The ideas about who we are and what makes us up ... With a lot of things, the more you read something or the more you experience something, the more it unlocks and the more you know. Sometimes, I'll re-read it and I feel like I know less. Then other times I'll read it and I know twice as much more or I'll see something else that unlocks, so it's always changing for me. But in a good way."

You can watch the full video (directed by Jodorowsky's Dune documentarian Frank Pavich) below:

Waititi also compared Difool to Jack Nicholson's private detective, Jake Gittes, in the classic neo-noir, Chinatown. "He doesn't really know what he's doing, he looks like an idiot because he's got that big piece of gauze over his nose and stuff. He's sort of bumbling his way through this thing and I just love the idea of someone who has no idea what he's doing in his life [who] is then being charged with saving the universe."

"It began as the adventures of a jackass named John Difool, and then it became something else — we called it The Incal —something that has transformed everything it’s ever touched and continues to do so: its creators, the other artists who later became a part of John’s journey, its publisher Humanoids and myself in the process, countless readers, writers and directors around the world, and soon, I believe, the great Taika Waititi himself and everyone who looks to him for inspiration," Humanoids CEO Fabrice Giger said in a statement to Deadline.

Humanoids publisher Mark Waid (a respected comic book creator in his own right) spoke with SYFY WIRE last year to celebrate The Incal's 40th anniversary. 

“If you’ve never read The Incal, here’s a word of caution. This book is unlike anything you’ve ever read before and you’ll very likely never experience anything like it again," Waid told us us. "It’s mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, absolutely insane storytelling by two masters of the medium that will challenge your preconception of what comics can do.  With The Incal, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius created one of the essential graphic novels. It’s as fresh, weird and transgressive today as it was 40 years ago when it was first published."