Taika Waititi on the Difference Between Directing for Marvel and Star Wars

Taika Waititi became a household name after directing Thor: Ragnarok back in 2017, and he recently crossed the Disney aisle by helming an episode of Star Wars: The Mandalorian. After directing an episode of the upcoming Disney+ series, he now has a rare insight into what it's like working with two of the biggest franchises in history.

In an interview with Observer during SXSW, Waititi shared some details on the differences between directing for Marvel and Star Wars. When asked which of the two franchises has “stricter guidelines,” the director apparently was very quick to respond.

“Star Wars, yeah, easily,” he replied.

That means it’s unlikely the silly style we grew to love in Thor: Ragnarok will be as prominent in his Star Wars: The Mandalorian episode. However, the article promises that he’ll still bring some of that “token flare” to the show.

The interview also included Jemaine Clement and Paul Simms as the three are promoting the upcoming FX series based on their hit film, What We Do in the Shadows. Waititi talked about the “fine line he has to straddle” between his signature “kookiness” and the existing tone of the Star Wars universe, and how his working relationship with Clement and Simms taught him some things that he brought to the Star Wars universe.

“There’s definitely some of the stuff I’ve learned over the years from working with [Clement] and [Simms] and everyone else back home that I have brought to my episode,” he explained. “But I can’t… It’s a very sacred universe, the Star Wars universe, so I can’t do too much of it.”

Simms pointed out that Marvel is a “similarly structured franchise” so they discussed how Waititi was able to put so much of his own voice in Thor: Ragnarok.

“Sometimes they’ll say you’ve driven the Marvel truck out of the land and off the freeway and you gotta come back now,” Waititi said of pushing the boundaries. He added that this is similar to Lucasfilm, but apparently the latter is a little more strict.

Last month, Waititi also spoke to SlashFilm about directing the episode, saying, “Star Wars is very different to Marvel style.”

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“They know that the tone of the first films really should be kind of adhered to. That’s what the fans like and you can’t really disrespect it, I guess is a nicer way of saying, 'Can’t put too many jokes in.' There’s a bit, definitely, my tone is in there, the dialogue and stuff like that,” he explained.

Star Wars: The Mandalorian does not currently have a release date, but Disney+ is expected to go live in the fall.