Taika Waititi’s ‘Flash Gordon’ project goes from animated to live-action

ABC/Craig Sjodin

Taika Waititi is bringing Flash Gordon back to the big screen. The Jojo Rabbit Oscar winner, who is currently working on Thor: Love and Thunder, apparently had a change of heart while working on an animated version of the Flash Gordon property, according to producer Jon Davis.

“It was a movie that was a huge influence on him growing up,” Davis tells Collider of the New Zealand filmmaker. “It is one of his favorite movies. He initially said to me, ‘Let’s do it animated.’ I said, ‘Okay.’ Then we…started developing it and he said, ‘No, let’s do it live-action.’ I said, ‘Even better.'”

Flash Gordon has influenced generations of filmmakers since Alex Raymond‘s 1930s comic strip debuted, including George Lucas, who fashioned Star Wars after the episodic theatrical serials of Flash that Lucas enjoyed in his youth.

Most famously, in 1980, Flash Gordon was converted into a campy space opera that starred Sam J. Jones as the earth athlete who finds himself fighting in an intergalactic war.

That film came to a new audience thanks to Mark Wahlberg‘s character in Seth MacFarland‘s Ted films, who, along with his teddy bear buddy, idolized Jones — who appears in the comedies.

Davis, who co-produced Disney’s just-released Jungle Cruise, tells Collider this version of Flash Gordon will be very, well, Taika. “He has the most fantastically interesting vision for this movie. And you can only know it is Taika. It is what he does. It is the way he looks at the world…He is the funniest guy in the world. And he thinks on a different plane.”

Davis continues, “This movie embraces everything that’s special about Taika, and his vision,” while noting that “it harkens in a very interesting way to the original conception from the comics.”

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