Why Thor Director Taika Waititi Didn’t Want Marvel To Know He Was Friends With Chris Hemsworth Before Taking Ragnarok

Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth
(Image credit: Disney)

Taika Waititi is one of the most unique filmmakers working today, as he possesses a specific brand of humor and heart that tends to resonate with audiences. So it wasn’t really a surprise when his first Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Thor: Ragnarok, became both a critical and financial success. One of the reasons the superhero flick arguably worked so well is that Waititi has a great relationship with leading man Chris Hemsworth. This was due to the fact that the two were already friends before the director took the job. But as it turns out, this was something the pair initially wanted to keep from Marvel Studios.

When it came to the Thor franchise, the New Zealand-born filmmaker was eager to put his own spin on the God of Thunder, and the series’ star was also hoping for a change. This, combined with the fact that they’re friends, would’ve seemingly guaranteed the job for the director. But as he recently explained, this was actually something he wanted to avoid: 

We'd decided not to tell these guys that we knew each other because I didn't want to get a job because of my friend. And he would feel awkward.

Most would agree that by that point, Taika Waititi was already an incredibly competent filmmaker, who could have earned the Marvel gig on his own merits. However, one can still understand why he wouldn’t want to give himself what he perceived to be an outside advantage. Either way, Marvel ended up with a quality person to helm the movie. Later in his interview for the book The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (via Insider), Waititi explained how he and his star managed to revamp things: 

But we would often just chat about things we wanted to do to make it more fun and irreverent. I think the main focus was making the character more like Chris, because he's so funny, to bring out in the character his sense of humor and his comic ability as an actor.

Based on what’s been said about the production of Thor: Ragnaork, it would seem that there was a lot of creative freedom on set. This included a lot of experimentation and improvisation, which ultimately led to some of the movie’s best moments. Even the hilarious “Get Help” scene featuring Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston was made up on the spot. And of course, the director also added other nice touches, such as the heavy use of “Immigrant Song,” which helped him nail the overall tone

Taika Waititi is currently deep in post-production on his next MCU venture, Thor: Love and Thunder, and it could be even wilder than its predecessor. He’s been talking up the film quite a bit, without giving away any specific plot details, of course, But he believes the movie is the “craziest” he’s ever done and that it may be even funnier than Ragnarok. That’s a serious hurdle to clear but, if anyone can meet the sky-high expectations, it’s Waititi. 

At the end of the day, it’s just comforting to know that the What We Do in the Shadows director found his way to Marvel and Hollywood as a whole. The Oscar winner has immense talent, and it’ll be amazing to see what he delivers in the future. 

Those looking forward to Thor: Love and Thunder, in particular, can check out the film when it arrives in theaters on July 8, 2022. And ahead of its release, you can stream the first three movies in the franchise on Disney+.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.