Is anyone busier right now than Taika Waititi? Just a couple weeks ago, we learned he had signed on to produce and direct, at least in part, a Showtime series starring Jude Law. That’s on top of the soccer movie, Next Goal Wins, he has due later this year, and Thor: Love and Thunder which is supposed to film this year, too. Now, he is taking on two “animated event series” for Netflix, based on the works of Roald Dahl. I will never object to more Roald Dahl in the world, but at some point I have to start wondering which of these projects Taika ends up dropping. This is approaching Guillermo Del Toro levels of “sign onto everything, inevitably drop something”. At this point, I would pay money for his time management secrets. Does he have a time turner?
These Roald Dahl projects are a little mysterious, mainly because no one knows what Netflix means by “animated event series”. I assume it means Netflix will be putting considerable resources into advertising these shows, the way they do their top-tier stuff like Stranger Things and The Witcher, and not just shove it onto the platform with little fanfare, like they do perfectly good shows like Castlevania (which returns for season three today, bless that floating vampire Jesus). It sounds a little to me like these will be limited series, and not full-blown serialized shows which come back season after season. “Event” sounds kind of like “limited” except somehow more special, and Netflix spent a ton of money on this, so they will definitely want the Dahl shows to stand out.
Netflix struck a billion-dollar deal back in 2018 for the rights to Dahl’s works, with the intent of creating a kid-friendly, animated universe of shows and specials. Taika is the first creative to sign on to make this a reality, and he is tackling Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, developing one series “based on the world and characters” of Charlie—which means, I suppose, not another direct adaptation but something “inspired by” the book—and the second series will fill in the backstory of the Oompa-Loompas. That sounds kind of perfect for Taika Waititi. You know it will be weird and strange and probably have to do with absentee parents. Assuming, that is, that he doesn’t have to drop a project because of over-scheduling.