‘Star Wars’: After Taika Waititi, These Marvel Directors Should Be Next

It’s hard to believe how quickly Taika Waititi’s career has grown. Could Star Wars be the next step in his plan for world domination?

The actor/director/writer made his directorial debut in 2007 with quirky indie comedy Eagle vs. Shark. Yet, with every film since then, he’s expanded his skillset and notoriety many times over. 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows and 2016’s Hunt for the Wilderpeople led him to take over Marvel Studios’ Thor franchise with Thor: Ragnarok.

Now Waititi is an Oscar-nominated filmmaker for his World War II satire Jojo Rabbit. Moreover, reports claim the director is heading from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Star Wars. Waititi hasn’t commented definitively on the topic, but after he directed The Mandalorian‘s season finale, fans are convinced he is up for the challenge.

However, Waititi isn’t the only MCU alumni who would do wonders in the “galaxy far, far away.” After all, since both Marvel and Star Wars are owned of Disney, it’s not like any of these filmmakers would have to travel far to hyperspace right into the Star Wars universe.

Taika Waititi at the Producers Guild Awards
Taika Waititi at the Producers Guild Awards | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

5. Peyton Reed

Prior to bringing Ant-Man to the MCU, Peyton Reed was best known for comedies like Bring It On and The Break-Up. His movies have a kinetic energy which would be the perfect fit for the Star Wars universe. Plus, the Ant-Man films expertly balance a gifted ensemble cast.

Reed is reportedly back on board for the untitled Ant-Man 3. So we know he has found a way to develop a strong working relationship with Marvel. He’d need to do the same over at Lucasfilm, given the franchise’s uncertain big-screen future. Reed has proven he can play well with others and deliver an entertaining film under pressure.

4. Shane Black

Shane Black is much better known as a screenwriter than a director. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, he was famously the highest-paid writer in the business. But with Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005, he proved he knows his way behind the camera as well. And, love it or hate it, he brought his distinctive style and flair to Iron Man 3.

Since then, Black hasn’t had the best luck at the box office. Despite critical raves and a cult following, The Nice Guys disappointed commercially, as did The Predator in 2018. Although Black is more of an auteur than most of the folks on our list, he would be a great asset to Star Wars if Lucasfilm can manage it.

3. Joe Johnston

At its best, Star Wars taps into the pulpy adventure stories that inspired George Lucas to create the original 1977 film. If Lucasfilm hopes to return to this type of storytelling, we can think of few other filmmakers better suited than Joe Johnston.

The director has a knack for throwback-style romps, as he proved in Captain America: The First Avenger. But he also pulled off the same trick decades earlier with Disney’s The Rocketeer. Johnston — who also made classics like Jumanji and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids in the 1990s — has made an underrated filmmaker for too long. Give this man a Star Wars please.

2. Ryan Coogler

Although Captain America: Civil War introduced moviegoers to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), it was Ryan Coogler who created his world. Black Panther presents a visionary take on Marvel Comics’ Wakanda, itself a breathtaking work of art. Just as he did with Black Panther’s kingdom, Coogler would be a great choice to take Star Wars fans to new lands.

In addition, he took Marvel Studios to the top of awards season, earning Black Panther a Best Picture nomination. The film proved to be a cultural milestone, yes, but it also imbued brought social commentary and a distinctly fresh point of view to comic book movies. Star Wars would be lucky to have Coogler do the same for its universe.

1. Jon Favreau

Of course, Jon Favreau tops our list. The director of Iron Man and Iron Man 2 has essentially become a Disney company man over the past few years. In addition to Marvel, he’s remade both The Jungle Book and The Lion King into billion-dollar hits. But more than this, he’s already working in Star Wars.

As the creator of The Mandalorian, Favreau has been an instrumental voice in shaping the future of Star Wars. Just as Waititi’s work on the show feels like a stepping stone to a big-screen assignment, we’d be absolutely shocked if Lucasfilm doesn’t give Favreau the chance to direct a Star Wars movie. The company is understandably protective of the franchise. So promoting in-house talent like Favreau to the big leagues feels like an easy win.