Taika Waititi has wanted to make a Flash Gordon movie for several years now. Pre COVID-19, the Thor: Love and Thunder director had envisioned bringing the space explorer to life via an animated film. Fast forward to 2021, however, and Waititi is dancing to a slightly different tune. Don’t worry, Flash fans: he still wants the movie to happen. It’s just going to look a little different from what you were expecting.
In an interview with Collider, Jungle Cruise producer John Davis, who's working on the Flash Gordon reboot, revealed that Taikia Waititi is still interested in directing the new film, with one major twist: the movie will now be live-action instead of animated as previously thought. As Davis put it:
Taika is writing it. It was a movie that was a huge influence on him growing up. It is one of his favorite movies. He initially said to me, 'Let's do it animated.' I said, 'Okay.' Then we got into it and started developing it and he said, 'No, let's do it live-action.' I said, 'Even better.'
While we love an animated moment, a live-action Flash Gordon movie is bound to be even more exciting. The original version of the hero was created by Alex Raymond for a 1934 comic strip. A bevy of serial films were released in the late 1930s, and a feature-length live action film directed by Mike Hodges premiered in 1980. The latter version is '80s camp perfection, with heroes and villains alike decked out in multicolored spandex. Anyone familiar with Taika Waititi’s absurd sense of humor will easily see why such a film might have inspired the New Zealand native. After all, he delivered Thor: Ragnarok, was comedic and packed with all sorts of colorful cosmic craziness, and Thor: Love and Thunder is going to be even wilder.
John Davis agrees. The producer specifically wants Taika Waititi to direct Flash Gordon for similar reasons. He believes that Waititi's sense of humor is just one of the director's many strengths, elaborating:
He has the most fantastically interesting vision for this movie. And you can only know it is Taika. It is what he does. It is the way he looks at the world. He is the greatest guy in the world. He is the funniest guy in the world. And he thinks on a different plane. And this movie embraces everything that's special about Taika, and his vision.
A different plane might be just the thing to set Flash Gordon apart. The 1980 movie was essentially a space opera, a genre that has been largely neglected by modern directors. Films like Jupiter Ascending and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets have tried and failed to reinvent the space opera for a modern audience. A director like Taika Waititi might be just what Flash Gordon needs to break the curse. And it’s never been a better time for superheroes in film: just take a look at all of Marvel’s upcoming releases.
As soon as more details about the next Flash Gordon movie come in, we'll let you know. Taika Waititi fans can look forward to Thor: Love and Thunder being released on May 6, 2022.