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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Taika Waititi to direct new Star Wars film

Taika Waititi had for months been expected to take the reins of the galaxy far, far away, having already directed the season finale of the Star Wars streaming spinoff The Mandalorian.

By: AP | New York | Updated: May 5, 2020 8:28:35 am
taika watiti star wars films Taika Waititi will co-write the new Star Wars film with Krysty Wilson-Cains, who wrote the World War I thriller 1917 with Sam Mendes. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Taika Waititi, the New Zealand filmmaker of Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok, will direct a new Star Wars film.

Waititi had for months been expected to take the reins of the galaxy far, far away, having already directed the season finale of the Star Wars streaming spinoff The Mandalorian. But the Walt Disney Co. waited until the franchise’s unofficial holiday, May the Fourth, to make Waititi’s hire official.

Waititi will co-write the film with Krysty Wilson-Cains, who wrote the World War I thriller 1917 with Sam Mendes. Both Waititi and Wilson-Cains were screenplay nominees at the Academy Awards earlier this year; Wilson-Cains for the original script to 1917 and Waititi for his adapted Nazi satire Jojo Rabbit. Waititi won.

The announcement potentially suggests the new path forward for Star Wars theatrical films following the considerable upheaval in Lucasfilm’s development plans. Last October, Game of Thrones David Benioff and D.B. Weiss departed their planned trilogy. Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, was developing a separate trilogy but its status is unclear. Johnson has instead been focused on a sequel to his 2019 film, Knives Out.

In December, Lucasfilm wrapped up the Skywalker saga with the release of The Rise of Skywalker. But that release was the worst reviewed of the previous eight Star Wars films and not as strong at the box office. It grossed $1.08 billion.

To help rejuvenate the franchise, Disney has turned to Marvel president Kevin Feige (who produced Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok”) and Jon Favreau, creator of the well-received The Mandalorian.

The Mandalorian, for which a third season is reportedly already in the works, has also opened up other series options for Star Wars. Other shows in development include an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff starring Ewan McGregor and a spinoff from Rogue One based on the character Cassian Andor.

Also read | Star Wars Day: All the movies in the franchise, ranked

Disney added another series to its plans on Monday, announcing that Leslye Headland, the co-creator and executive producer of the acclaimed Netflix series Russian Doll, is also developing a new Star Wars series for Disney Plus.

No release date was released for either project.

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