Taika Waititi knows the internet has a wish list for what should happen in his upcoming Ragnarok sequel Thor: Love and Thunder. He's just not sure that following that wish list, or even making the wish list in the first place, is a very good idea.
Waititi's making the rounds right now to promote his new film Jojo Rabbit (check out SYFY WIRE'S interview with him about the film here), but one of the biggest projects he's got cooking in the near future is a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the triumph of Thor: Ragnarok, which shook up the title character and his world in bold, funny, and often unexpectedly heartwarming ways. Waititi's already confirmed that Thor: Love and Thunder will shake up the MCU in a big way thanks to the return of Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, who will pick up the hammer and become Thor herself in the film. Speaking to Wired about the next Thor installment, Waititi says that shaking things up even beyond Ragnarok was the only thing that would have drawn him back to the story.
"It's going to be bigger and louder and more bombastic," he said. "It's only interesting to me if we're doubling down on how nuts Ragnarok was."
In addition to Jane Foster as Thor, the bigger and louder elements of Love and Thunder will also include Waititi's return as the lovable rock creature Korg ("I really love playing that character," he said) and an onscreen confirmation that the new ruler of Asgard, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), is bisexual. Thompson made the announcement that Valkyrie will have to "find her queen" in Love and Thunder at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, fulfilling her longtime wish for the direction of the character.
Who that queen is remains to be seen, but naturally MCU fans have already started generating ideas of their own, and one of them is a romance between Valkyrie and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), aka Captain Marvel. Both Thompson and Larson are aware of this popular piece of 'shipping, so much so that they've spent time on Twitter passing fan art of the couple back and forth. Waititi told Wired that he's also aware that fans would love to see Valkyrie and Carol together, and his response to that is more about the nature of studios responding to fans than it is about his personal reaction to the ship.
"The thing is, I think it's dangerous for people to say too much about what they want with Marvel, because then they will tend to go the other way," he said. "You want to listen to the fans to a point. But also you don't want to have a completely fan-made film, because then it doesn't feel like there's any point. You want to have people surprised."
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is among the most popular movie franchises of all time, thanks in no small part to a constantly active fanbase generating everything from fan theories to fan art to wish lists for what should come next, and sometimes those wishes come true. How many times did you hear fans say that Steve Rogers should wield Mjolnir or that Steve and Peggy Carter should use some kind of time travel to be together at last before Avengers: Endgame came out?
Waititi knows that Marvel pays attention to where fans want the films to go, and he also knows that the studio is eager to subvert expectations just as much as they meet them. The trick, therefore, is walking a line between the two, and that's the line he's trying to walk as he heads into his second MCU feature.
Thor: Love and Thunder will hit theaters November 5, 2021.