Fans Call For Marvel Staff to Unionize In Light of Director’s Problematic Joke

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Taika Waititi with Chris Hemsworth on Thor set

Credit: Marvel Studios

Taika Waititi, the director for this year’s box office hit Thor: Love and Thunder, starring Chris Hemsworth (Thor Odinson), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster/The Mighty Thor), and Tessa Thompson (Valkyrie) has come under fire for some supposedly insensitive comments made when he and actress Tessa Thompson exchanged banter about the CGI in a scene — and now, some fans are calling for the VFX industry to unionize in response to his comments.

Chris Hemsworth (L) and Taika Waititi (R)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Previously, Inside the Magic has covered Marvel fans coming to Waititi’s defense amidst a lot of the initial backlash — and now, it seems that fans are calling for VFX artists to unionize, in response to his statements.

Twitter user @Uber_Kryptonian shared their thoughts:

Hopefully VFX artists that worked on Taika’s film see this video and this becomes the driving moment that makes them all unionize. Seeing the millionaire director making fun of your work he and producers forced you to change 5 times before deadline with little pay is insane.

But what was in the video in question, really? Let’s break it down.

In the Vanity Fair video, Waititi and Thompson themselves break down a scene apparently called “Taste the Rainbow”, according to Waititi himself.

The scene takes place in the Town Hall of New Asgard, the newfound home of the remaining displaced Asgardians, who moved to the Norwegian coast on Earth after their home planet and native realm, Asgard, was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok (2017). Thompson’s character, newly-crowned monarch King Valkyrie of New Asgard, is having a conversation with Thor and the Mighty Thor as they decide how to deal with the ever-looming threat of Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale).

Christian Bale as Gorr
Credit: Marvel Studios

Related: As Bans Continue, Disney Completely Pulls ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Release From Entire Country

Waititi himself appears self-deprecating in the video, asking Thompson about his own character (whom he acted in the film), the rocky alien Korg in the scene, “okay, does this look real?”, to which Thompson responds, “in that particular shot, no, actually (laughs).”

Waititi then looks sheepish, and Thompson adds, “it doesn’t really, right? When you look close?” — and Waititi ponders, speaking of his character Korg again, “hmm, do I need to be more blue?”

The two start pointing at the (clearly quite real) actors in the scene, namely Hemsworth as Thor and Portman as Jane Foster, asking each other if they “look real”, Thompson even points at herself in the scene as Valkyrie, before concluding that “none of them look real”.

Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie
Credit: Marvel Studios

In light of these comments, fans are responding to Waititi’s “jokes” in a myriad of ways — some with more jokes of their own:

[text in image, of a Subway sandwich]

(Taika) be like

(“TL&T VFX”) sucks

(My brother in Christ) you made the (movie)

Other fans like @NotBoogey weighed in:

That’s insane. Taika this week is trying very hard to get everyone to dislike him and it’s working. Well maybe if you paid your artists more, and didn’t rush them the CGI would look better and more polished. They gotta go back to 2 movies per year.

This perhaps conflates the Marvel director with Marvel Studios itself a little, as user @LukasAndArt1 notices. They attempt to add some nuance to the discussion by highlighting the fact that certain aspects of the production may have been out of Waititi’s hands, speaking of a wider issue within the VFX industry:

This sucks, but did he even have control over the VFX? With how many ppl have control over these things I wouldn’t be surprised if some of this is the first time he’s seeing it.

Which is not to say I’m defending anyone. But it sounds like the VFX is a systemic issue.

However, a more well-rounded critique from Gordon B. White offers:

I think Taika Waititi’s recent promo bits where he ribs the VFX work on the new Thor or says that directors’ cuts suck is a good example of when self-deprecation does *not* work – i.e., when the product being deprecated was a team effort. Then it just sounds kinda jerky.

Related: ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ Defies Critics, MCU Movie Posts Stunning $302M Opening Weekend

With the recent reports that Marvel Studios also likely deliberately restricted the runtime of Thor: Love and Thunder — perhaps all the recent criticism levied at Waititi might be partially unfounded, as it seems that Marvel Studios are pulling much of the strings behind the final outcome of these Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Waititi’s flippant tone, however, is definitely all him.

Credit: Marvel Studio

Considering how much Marvel Studios seems to like setting unrealistic deadlines for its creators, it’s possible that their current relationship with VFX artists could be a result of something more systemic — as Marvel Studios decides the pay, gives the directors and actors guides, and also handles deadlines — that would result in VFX crunch.

Ultimately, we’ll just have to see if Marvel Studios or Taika Waititi come out with an apology, or choose to speak on this uproar at all.

What do you think of Taika Waititi’s comments? Is the anger warranted? What do you think about the VFX industry unionizing? Share your thoughts down below!

Part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: Love and Thunder premiered in theatres on July 8, 2022.

It stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor Odinson), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster AKA Mighty Thor), Tessa Thompson (King Valkyrie), Christian Bale (Gorr the God Butcher), Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Jaimie Alexander (Lady Sif), Sean Gunn (Kraglin Obfonteri) and Russell Crowe (Zeus).

The fourth installment in the Thor franchise, Thor: Love and Thunder is directed by Taika Waititi and features Thor Odinson teaming up with the new reigning monarch of New Asgard, King Valkyrie, along with his ex-girlfriend Dr. Jane Foster who now wields the reformed hammer Mjolnir, becoming the Mighty Thor. Together, they try to take down Gorr the God Butcher, who is on a quest to rid the universe of any and all godly beings, as he believes that “all gods must die”.

Other MCU Phase Four films on the horizon are Black Panther: Wakanda Forever premiering November 11, 2022, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on February 17, 2023, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 on May 5, 2023. The Disney+ streaming service also currently offers MCU Phase Four TV shows such as the critically acclaimed Ms. Marvel (2022) and Moon Knight (2022).

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