Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi Would Cast Asian Leads For Akira

Given the opportunity, Thor: Ragnarok‘s Taika Waititi would honor the source material by casting Asian leads in the long-gestating Akira remake.

The New Zealand filmmaker, famous for his work on What We Do in the Shadows and Hunt For the Wilderpeople, spoke to IGN recently about the dormant property, which once had its crosshairs on Jordan Peele (Get Out) before the director ultimately passed to double down on original projects.

Waititi, meanwhile, is the latest candidate to emerge onto Warner’s radar. Nothing has been finalized just yet, and from what we understand, Warner Bros. has merely approached Taika Waititi about the possibility of directing. Assuming a deal does stick, though, the latter noted that his version of Akira would be more loyal to the source material, as opposed to Katsuhiro Otomo’s decorated sci-fi flick of ’88. That tells us Akira could wind up being a full reboot, rather than a shot-for-shot remake. And then there’s the promise of casting a predominantly Asian ensemble.

And considering the likes of Iron Fist, Doctor Strange and this year’s Ghost in the Shell landed in hot water for their casting of high-profile and, crucially, white actors, Waititi’s promise is music to our ears, as it echoes Ed Skrein’s decision to exit the Hellboy reboot and essentially hand over his role to Daniel Dae Kim.

As for Waititi’s thoughts on Akira, here’s what the filmmaker had to share:

I am – that was more or less a rumor. There was, I mean, I was in talks to do that, for sure, and something that I was very passionate about – am passionate about…I actually love the books. Love the movie, but I would not do a remake of the movie. I would do an adaptation of the books…And, yeah, so anyway there’s been some chats [about him directing it].

In terms of casting, Taiki Waititi vowed to recruit Asian talent for the lead roles, given the chance.

Actually Asian teenagers would be the way to do it for me and probably no, not, like no name, I mean sort of unfound, untapped talent.

Akira is still gestating in the bowels of development, but fans can at least take solace in the fact that the wheels are now in motion. Ragnarok, meanwhile, hits theaters on November 3rd.