Taika Waititi isn't rushing to return to a galaxy far, far away. The Thor: Love and Thunder filmmaker and Jojo Rabbit Oscar winner will co-write and direct the next live-action Star Wars movie for Lucasfilm, which has earmarked dates for the franchise's return to theaters in December 2023, 2025, and 2027. Announced in 2020 with co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917, Last Night in Soho), Waititi's follow-up to his Season 1 episode of The Mandalorian is said to be an expansion set outside the episodic Skywalker Saga that concluded with The Rise of Skywalker in 2019. Waititi's Star Wars spinoff will be an original story and not — as he quipped in a recent interview — about "Chewbacca's grandmother."
"I saw on Twitter, someone's like: I'd actually really love to see a movie about Chewbacca's grandmother. And I was like, I shouldn't have said that because this is awesome," Waititi explained in an interview with Rolling Stone. "But I just feel like for me, I'm never gonna please the fans. You know, I don't want to mess with something that's so treasured. Also, you feel like you've got to do a lot of research…and I don't have any time. [Laughs] I mean, there's thousands of books that have been written, these volumes of books about Star Wars with all those characters. I just don't have time to get through them."
Waititi continued, "So I can't say like, you know, confidently, I'd be able to do something that's like very close to what everyone knows. I'm not promising that I'm not going to do anything like that. I'm just saying: It'd be easier for me to not do that."
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recently suggested Waititi's Star Wars movie might release in December 2023, but Waititi has confirmed the project won't shoot in 2022. Also in the works is the Rogue Squadron spinoff presently on hold as Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins continues to develop her script about the new generation of starfighter pilots.
Asked about Lucasfilm's track record of jettisoning Star Wars movies, Waititi said, "Might happen to me!" (An announced trilogy from The Last Jedi and Knives Out director Rian Johnson remains in limbo, and the studio canceled the Star Wars features developed by Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.)
"I think Taika [of] 10 years ago would be so panicked and nervous at the prospect of that. But if it's not right, it's not right," Waititi said. "If it's not ready, it's not ready. [With] Star Wars, I don't want to rush. It's something I wouldn't want to just leap into and not feel that it's unique, it's my film, and it makes sense. Because that would be a disaster. I'm writing at the moment. So I'm gonna do my best to come up with an idea that everyone loves."
Marvel's Thor: Love and Thunder opens in theaters July 8.