The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

Wired recently checked in with Taika Waititi, who is making the much-traveled journey of indie-to-blockbuster director this year by making his first major franchise film, Thor: Ragnarok. (Waititi is best known for directing on Flight Of The Conchords and the vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows.) Before shooting begins on Thor: Ragnarok, he’s also releasing the indie adventure-comedy Hunt For The Wilderpeople, about a foster kid who loves Tupac. According to Waititi, “there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference” between Hunt For The Wilderpeople and the next chapter of Thor’s adventure, only the scale of the production.

One aspect of Thor: Ragnarok has Waititi, along with the rest of this realm, very excited, though: Cate Blanchett. After reportedly being in talks to join the film, Blanchett has officially signed on for her Marvel debut. It’s not just a first for Blanchett, it’s a first for Marvel, as she will play Hela, Marvel’s first female cinematic villain. And Waititi trusts her to slay without much direction. “I don’t usually tell people what to do unless it’s really not working,” he told Wired. “Half the battle is just casting the right people, whether it’s Wilderpeople or a superhero movie. Then mostly your work is done.” (Maybe Blanchett will play Hela like an Asgardian version of Carol Aird.) Similarly, Waititi has been encouraging Jeff Goldblum to improvise in his portrayal of The Grandmaster. “When I met him, I realized that all of his characters are just him,” he said. “So what else could I say to him besides ‘Just be yourself’?”

Waititi didn’t have much to say about Hulk’s involvement in the film; we already know from Mark Ruffalo that Hulk will be “Hulkier” in this movie, but we still don’t know what the fuck that means. Only Ruffalo does. Waititi doesn’t provide any answers, neither confirming nor denying Ruffalo’s assertion that Bruce Banner and Hulk could be on a “collision course” in Ragnarok. Here’s what Waititi had to say about what Hulk will be up to in the movie: “He’s just going to do Hulk stuff. Hulk-y things.” Why does everyone assume Hulk’s name is a sufficient adjective for the character’s actions? It means nothing.

Anyway, Goldblum’s going to Goldblum and Hulk’s going to Hulk in Thor: Ragnarok, which is set to release November 3, 2017.