After Thor: Ragnarok, Taika Waititi was widely recognized as a top-tier comic book film director. The 45-year-old is known for various industry roles as a film/television director, producer, screenwriter, actor, and even comedian – who was at one point in time, working on a live-action adaptation of the influential anime film Akira.
Most recently, Waititi appeared in James Gunn's The Suicide Squad, credited as Ratcatcher 1, which might seem like a random enough role, but was only plausible due to the unfortunate circumstances of the Akira film getting shelved. In a feature over at Indiewire, Gunn discussed how he was able to get Waititi involved and explained, "I actually thought about Taika for another role, and I offered it to him, and he said, I don't know… He was working on Akira at the time, and he said, 'I had to give you my answer in like two weeks,' he totally wanted to do it. It was one of the other superheroes. And he said that he wanted to do it, and then Akira got greenlit, and it was happening."
The Akira film ended up getting put on the back burner by Warner Bros. after Waititi chose to take on the directorial role in Thor: Love and Thunder, which ultimately opened up an opportunity for Gunn and Waititi, as Gunn later explained, "Then, all of a sudden, it fell apart and [Taika] wrote me, and he said, 'Oh, [the] fucking movie fell apart. Is that role is still available?' and I said, 'No, but let me get you in something else.'" Gunn didn't actually clarify which role he had intended to place Waititi in (respectfully so), but at least things sort of worked out in one way or another!
If we're getting a Waititi role in The Suicide Squad and Thor: Love and Thunder, hopefully, Warner Bros. will try to seize the moment and move forward on Akira soon!