Netflix taps Taika Waititi of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ and ‘Jojo Rabbit’ to write, direct, and executive produce two original series
Loved 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok? How about 2019’s Jojo Rabbit? Well, you have one person to thank for those films: the incredibly talented New Zealand-based filmmaker and actor, Taika Waititi. It seems anything Waititi touches turns to gold: Jojo Rabbit, which tells the story of a lonely German boy with Adolf Hitler as an imaginary friend, received many nominations — and a win! — this last awards season, including Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Best Adapted Screenplay, respectively. Since, Waititi has done anything but slow down. In fact, he’s not only currently working on the fourth Thor film, Thor: Love and Thunder, as writer and director, but, according to Netflix, he also just closed a deal to write, direct, and executive produce two original animated series for the streaming service, one of which is based on the world and characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The second series is an original take on the Oompa-Loompas.
you had me at “Taika Waititi”— TravisShreffler on TikTok (@TravisShreffler) March 5, 2020
“I grew up reading Dahl stories and lived large parts of my young life in those magical worlds, so finding just the right creative partner to bring Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Oompa-Loompas to life in animation was a daunting task… until Taika walked into the room,” said Netflix Vice President of Original Animation Melissa Cobb. “Then, it was really obvious: If Dahl had created a character of a filmmaker to adapt his work, I’m pretty sure he would have created Taika.”
According to Netflix, the two new shows will “retain the quintessential spirit and tone of the original story” while also building out the world and character beyond the pages of the Dahl book for the first time.
Roald Dahl fans have much to celebrate following this Netflix news. According to its press release, the two Waititi-helmed series mark the beginning of an extensive partnership between Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company. Together, they will reimagine beloved Dahl stories, including Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, and more. These new, to-come animated series will also join a slate of family-friendly feature films expected to hit the streaming service this year, including Klaus, The Willoughbys, and Over The Moon.
“In the words of Willy Wonka himself, we are ‘Delighted! Charmed! Overjoyed!’ with Taika’s appointment on this project. There is something undeniably Wonka-esque about Taika’s creative flair and inimitable sense of humor and we cannot think of anyone more perfectly suited to leading the creative charge on these first of their kind, feature quality Netflix shows,” said Gideon Simeloff, commercial and entertainment director for Roald Dahl Story Company, in a prepared statement.
Waititi’s success as a writer and director extend beyond the big screen. He not only served as executive producer, co-writer, and director of last year’s TV adaptation of What We Do In the Shadows on FX, but Waititi also directed the Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian on Disney+.
As for the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Oompa-Loompas animated series, Netflix couldn’t have chosen a better writer, director, and executive producer.