A few months ago came the great news that Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi would be returning to the MCU to direct Thor 4, which eventually was revealed to be Thor: Love and Thunder. That good news was coupled with the bad news that Taika Waititi’s Akira, Warner Bros.’ long-in development adaptation of Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s seminal anime, had been delayed indefinitely. Now Taika Waititi has opened up to explain the delay in the Akira movie. He said:
Unfortunately, the timing with Akira, because we've been working really hard on the script, we had to keep pushing the start date for the shoot. We ended up having to push it a couple weeks too far, which actually ate into the Thor schedule, because they were very close together. And that got pushed again and again, and it just got too far into the Thor schedule to be able to make it work. And my first commitment was to Marvel to make that film, so now I've kind of had to take Akira and sort of shift it around to the tail-end of Thor and move it down a couple of years.
Right up there with creative differences, scheduling has felled or delayed many a project and it seems that is basically what happened with Taika Waititi’s Akira. It sounds like Taika Waititi’s original intention was to film Akira and then move right into Thor 4. However, the anime adaptation was taking a while to come together and thus its production start date kept getting kicked further and further down the road.
Eventually that production start date bumped up against and then went into the time Taika Waititi was scheduled to be working on Thor: Love and Thunder. The two films’ productions were already close together and Akira’s delays pushed it deeper into Love and Thunder’s schedule to the point it was untenable.
The timeline simply wouldn’t allow for the director to make Akira before the fourth Thor movie. There was no way to make it work and something had to give so Taika Waititi had to make a choice between the two projects. As he told IGN, his first commitment was to Marvel Studios for Love and Thunder so unfortunately Akira had to go on the backburner.
So now Akira has been put on hold indefinitely but it sounds like in Taika Waititi’s mind, he still intends to tackle that project after Thor: Love and Thunder. The director also told IGN that he still wants to make Akira, it’ll just be a couple of years before that can happen with Thor: Love and Thunder set to hit theaters in November of 2021.
Whether Warner Bros. will wait for Taika Waititi or not we’ll have to wait and see. This is just the latest delay to a property that Hollywood has been attempting to adapt for a long time only to find itself in perpetual development hell. And while it is a bummer that we won’t see Taika Waititi’s Akira, at least not for a while, it sounds like that might be for the best.
The reason, according to Taika Waititi, that Akira’s production kept getting delayed was that they were working on the script. So basically Akira wasn’t ready anyways because they still hadn’t cracked the script. Sure, movies sometimes move forward with incomplete scripts, but the script may have been a long way off from being serviceable so it is perhaps a good thing that this beloved property wasn’t rushed and half-assed with a sub-par script.
While Taika Waititi will have his hands full with Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as a brief detour to make Next Goal Wins, maybe he can spend the next couple of years musing on Akira. That way if the project is still available when he’s finished Thor, he might have a new perspective on it and can finally deliver the adaptation that the anime deserves.
Thor: Love and Thunder arrives in theaters on November 5, 2021. Check out the release dates for all of the Phase 4 films in our guide.