Back in summer 2019, we learned that Taika Waititi was developing a Flash Gordon animated reboot for 20th Century Studios. Given how busy the New Zealand filmmaker has been since then, it’s not surprising that we haven’t received many further updates about the project over the last couple of years. However, we’ve now got word that the movie is progressing well, although it’s undergone a major change – it’s now a live-action film instead of an animation.
Producers John Davis and John Ford spoke to Collider about their latest movie, Disney’s Jungle Cruise, and also touched on where things are at with the Flash Gordon remake. Davis explained that this one is a real passion project for Waititi as he’s a lifelong fan of the character. It was also his decision to change the medium of the flick as his ideas for it evolved.
“Taika is writing it. It was a movie that was a huge influence on him growing up,” Davis said. “It is one of his favorite movies. He initially said to me, ‘Let’s do it animated.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ Then we got into it and started developing it and he said, ‘No, let’s do it live-action.’ I said, ‘Even better.'”
Davis went on to praise Waititi for the “most fantastically interesting vision” he has for this new take on Flash Gordon, saying that “this movie embraces everything that’s special about Taika, and his vision.” Despite the fame of the beloved 80s flick, that starred Sam Jones as Flash and Max Von Sydow as his nemesis, Ming the Merciless, Davis stressed that Waititi’s actually going back to the original 1930s comics from Alex Raymond for inspiration.
“It harkens in a very interesting way to the original conception from the comics,” he revealed.
For those not familiar with the concept, all versions of Flash Gordon revolve around the titular hero, an American sports star, who ends up transported to the planet Mongo, helping to free its people from the evil Emperor Ming. The story was clearly a massive influence on Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, so we can likely expect him to bring a similar retro-futurist aesthetic to this project. Not to mention his usual sense of humor and charm.
Taika Waititi can be seen in Free Guy, hitting theaters August 13th. His next directorial effort is Thor: Love and Thunder, coming in May 2022. It’s possible Flash Gordon will be his next movie after that.