Taika Waititi Almost Missed His Chance to Direct ‘Thor: Ragnarok’ but 1 Disney Movie Saved Him

Thor: Ragnarok is a favorite for many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It’s hilarious, colorful, contains great action, and completely changed the way audiences think about Thor (Chris Hemsworth). Taika Waititi put his own unique spin on the movie, and it paid off in spades. However, Waititi has shared a story detailing how he almost his chance to direct Thor: Ragnarok, but a particular Disney movie saved him.

Taika Waititi has become a sought after name within Hollywood

Taika Waititi explains how he almost missed his chance to work on Thor: Ragnarok but another Disney project saved him.
Taika Waititi | Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Taika Waititi has built up an impressive resume. People began mentioning his name with What We Do in the Shadows, a mockumentary film about a group of vampires living in modern-day New Zealand. The film became a cult classic, leading to two TV shows, one with the same title on FX and Wellington Paranormal.

The director also has an Oscar to put next to his name as he won Best Adapted Screenplay for Jojo Rabbit, which he also directed. However, most people will know him from his work on Thor: Ragnarok. People fell in love with it due to its bizarre humor and chaotic nature. Waititi himself also voiced Korg, who became a fan favorite. People loved Ragnarok so much that Marvel brought Waititi back for Thor: Love and Thunder, which will arrive in theaters in July 2022. 

Waititi almost missed his meeting with Marvel for ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

In an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, Waititi told a funny story about how he almost missed a meeting with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. According to Waititi, he was traveling domestically in the U.S. and didn’t have the necessary identification to get through security. 

“Not being American, you can’t travel domestically without some sort of American ID,” Waititi told Corden. “All I had was a New Zealand driver’s license. And if you’ve seen one of those, you know it looks like it comes out of a cornflakes box…[the customs agents] laughed at me, they said ‘What the hell is this?’ I said, ‘That’s my ID.’ And they said, ‘There’s no way you’re getting on this plane, mate. Have you got anything else?’”

Flying in the U.S. can be difficult as security is more strict than other countries. Typically, someone without the correct ID. However, Waitit was saved by his connection to a different Disney project. 

‘Moana’ ended up saving Waititi’s chances at working with Marvel

Waititi tells Corden that he got through because the customs agents found an old draft of a contract that Waititi had for Moana. The agents were looking forward to the Disney animated project and allowed him to pass through. 

“By now, a bunch of them had gathered around and were all laughing at me,” Waititi explained. “I looked in my bag, and I still had a contract, an old contract, sitting in there from Moana, cause I was the first writer on Moana. And I said, ‘Look, all I’ve got is this.’ It’s from Disney, Marvel, all the same people, you know. I’m trustworthy. And to their credit, the guy looked at the thing, he said, ‘Hey, bro, you’re working on Moana. Hey, we’re pretty excited about that. Get on that f***ing plane.’”

Waititi wrote an initial screenplay for Moana, but Disney passed on it for a script by Jared Bush. Moana ended up being a rousing success. However, it would be fascinating to see what the movie would have looked like if Disney went with Waititi’s script.

RELATED: Taika Waititi Reveals the Unique Tradition He Has for Creating ‘Lovely Vibes’ on Set