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Taika Waititi will return to direct Thor 4 as Akira is put on hold

By Matthew Jackson
Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi is returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Thor: Ragnarok director has signed a deal to be both writer and director on a still-untitled fourth Thor film, cementing a continued collaboration with star Chris Hemsworth that fans credit with revitalizing the God of Thunder. 

Waititi entered the MCU for the first time with Ragnarok, the third standalone Thor film, and quickly introduced his own brand of humor and offbeat visuals to the universe. The film was a box office success and earned critical acclaim, but also set a tone for Thor as a character that continued into his adventures in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The latter Avengers film set the stage for Thor to have a new cosmic adventure, and Hemsworth's willingness to return meant that his franchise could continue. Waititi is a natural fit to continue the character's journey, and having him onboard as a full-fledged screenwriter this time will only deepen his connection to Thor's future. 

Sadly, this development might be good news for Marvel fans, but it's bad news for anyone who had hopes of seeing Waititi's take on Akira by its proposed May, 2021 release date. According to THR's report, that film — a live-action adaptation of the manga-turned-anime of the same name that's been in development for years — was already wrestling with some script issues, and those concerns combined with Waititi's readiness to jump back into a Marvel project mean that Warner Bros. is now putting the film "on pause indefinitely" to avoid any conflict in scheduling. According to some sources, Warners would still like Waititi to return to Akira after he's made his second Thor film, but the future of that film is now very much in doubt. 

So, a fan-favorite director will return to shepherd one of the original Avengers into Phase Four. Now we just wait and see what kind of wild adventures Waititi and Hemsworth can cook up for the Odinson this time.