Taika Waititi boards Fox’s Flash Gordon animated movie!
Although his Netflix stop-motion movie Bubbles about Michael Jackson’s chimp recently imploded with the controversy over the singer, Taika Waititi is not through with animation. According to Deadline, the Thor: Ragnarok filmmaker has signed onto 20th Century Fox’s animated version of comic strip hero Flash Gordon, with no deal in place to write or direct but simply to “crack” the property for now. His official role in the production will become clearer as development continues. The 1980 Flash Gordon movie was said to be a direct influence on Thor: Ragnarok, which aped that film’s colorful and campy tone.
This is only the latest big genre project for the New Zealand helmer, who is also signed on to direct Warner Bros.’ live-action Akira movie and to write/direct a Time Bandits TV pilot for Apple TV+, as well as the episode of Star Wars series The Mandalorian he completed for Disney Plus. Waititi also has the WWII dramedy Jojo Rabbit (in which he also plays the role of Adolf Hitler) finished for release by Fox Searchlight on October 18, 2019.
Overlord director Julius Avery was previously announced in October of last year to write and direct Flash Gordon, and years ago Matthew Vaughn was also poised to direct the remake, but ultimately vacated the director’s chair for a producer credit alongside John Davis and Hearst.
This will not be the first time the character has lived in the animation realm, with the Saturday morning cartoon series The New Adventures of Flash Gordon airing for two seasons beginning in 1979. There was also the King Features crossover series Defenders of the Earth (featuring Flash Gordon, The Phantom and Mandrake the Magician) that ran for one season from 1986-87, as well as the 1996 cartoon series Flash Gordon which cast Flash as a hoverboard-riding teenager for only 26 episodes.
Created by Alex Raymond in 1934, Flash Gordon began life as a serialized comic strip, following the intergalactic adventures of the titular hero, his fellow adventurer and love interest, Dale Arden, and brilliant scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov. Together, the trio explore fantastic interplanetary locales like Mongo, home of the devilish Ming the Merciless. The comic was a tremendous influence on George Lucas, whose thwarted attempt to make his own Flash Gordon adaptation resulted in him creating Star Wars instead.
Tremendously popular in the late 1930s as a trio of big screen serials starring Buster Crabbe, Flash Gordon has since been adapted for both the big and small screen in a variety of different forms. Director Mike Hodges’ feature film (which boasted a soundtrack by Queen) failed to impress at the box office in 1980, but the movie has since emerged as a genuine cult classic. That film’s star, Sam J. Jones, played homage to the character in Seth MacFarlane’s 2012 comedy Ted and its sequel Ted 2.