Filmmaker Taika Waititi's first foray into the MCU with Thor: Ragnarok was unlike anything else comic book movie fans had seen before. The eye-popping color schemes, the absurdist imagery, and the super-serious characters of Thor and Hulk cracking jokes and indulging in physical comedy set Ragnarok in its own class of superhero films. During a recent episode of the Russo brothers' Pizza Film School, Waititi revealed Led Zeppelin's Immigrant song was a guiding light of sorts for the direction in which he wanted to take Thor as a character.
"I wanted to capture a road trip of people who had no business hanging out with each other. And I put all that to [Led Zeppelin's] 'Immigrant Song.' That song is basically about Thor. Just knowing the tone, knowing that it had to be playful and over the top ... that this is unapologetically a space opera, and I'm going to pump this with color and life and energy and humor, and cool music. And the way I feel about that film is like if you'd ask a bunch of 10-year-olds what they want in that movie; we basically said yes to every idea."
Apart from Zeppelin, Waititi also looked towards the 1986 Kurt Russell-starrer Big Trouble in Little China when it came to deciding on Thor's personal journey in Ragnarok.
"[Thor] just wants to get home. All this stuff is going on, even with Hulk ... he's willing to leave people but also he's trying to keep everyone together. He's trying to be charismatic, and he's trying to be a hero. He fails a lot, and tonally, that's something from Big Trouble that I carried with me into Ragnarok."
Of course, at the end of the day, Thor is a comic book character, and Waititi has spoken in the past about legendary comic book artist and creator Jack Kirby, and the influence of his drawings on the design of the alien worlds depicted in Ragnarok.
"Through this entire world, there's all this Kirby art everywhere. It made me really happy to be bringing his spirit and his designs into the film. I've been a huge fan of his since I was a kid. Not only the shapes, but the colors as well. These vibrant colors, and cool, amazing strong lines, and bold colors."
With such eclectic influences, it is no wonder Waititi managed to create such a compelling, big, and yet strangely intimate viewing experience for audiences out of Thor: Ragnarok. The filmmaker is gearing up to play in the MCU sandbox once again, with the next installment in the Thor franchise titled Thor: Love and Thunder, which Waititi has promised is going to be so wonderfully over the top that it will make Ragnarok appear tame by comparison.
Thor: Love and Thunder stars Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, and Natalie Portman as Jane Foster. The film is expected to arrive in theaters on Feb. 11, 2022.