Taika Waititi Reveals His Hilarious Thor: Ragnarok Character Korg – Vanity Fair
With a very popular trailer already out, Marvel fans probably thought they already knew everything there was to know about the cast of Thor: Ragnarok. Cate Blanchett is a goth; Tessa Thompson is a bad-ass warrior; Jeff Goldblum is, well, Goldblum. But it turns out that the film also features a pair of characters that Marvel has been carefully keeping under wraps—until now.
Marvel invited a small group of journalists into its newly renovated offices on the Disney Studios lot Monday night to unveil footage, art, and secrets behind the studio’s packed upcoming slate. Thor director Taika Waititi was on hand to reveal one of the new characters in Ragnorak, played by . . . Taika Waititi.
His name is Korg, “like the piano,” Waititi announced, before showing off some concept art and rough footage. Korg is a Kronan, a.k.a. a hulking rock beast from the comics—think a gladiator version of the Rockbiter from The Neverending Story, or a more nimble The Thing. Waititi jokingly said that because the creature was made of rocks and needed to be effortlessly charismatic, warm, and funny, he wanted to cast Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in the role. But because “there wasn’t enough chicken and salmon in New Zealand” to sustain the muscles of both The Rock and Chris Hemsworth, Waititi said, he instead cast himself in the mo-cap part.
This is excellent news for fans of both Waititi and the universally well-received tone of the Thor: Ragnarok trailer. When Hemsworth dropped that “he’s a friend from work” line in the trailer, Waititi aficionados immediately recognized the writer/director/actor’s trademark wit. (He’s also the reason why those recent Thor roommate videos are so hilarious.) That wit can easily be seen on display in Waititi’s work on Flight of the Conchords, What We Do in the Shadows, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Boy, and more. Waititi almost always appears in his own films and, just as he did in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, the New Zealand-born director will be laying on a lilting Māori accent for Ragnarok.
The reason Thor fans haven’t seen Korg yet is that he’s still a work in progress, design-wise. The character technically made his debut in Thor: The Dark World, where the Asgardian destroyed him with one quick uppercut.
But the character is getting a kinder, gentler makeover (both physically and emotionally) for Ragnarok. The new design allows for more range of emotion and expression on the Kronan’s face, which will come in handy as he befriends Thor and shows him the ropes. The scene screened for journalists featured Waititi in what he referred to as “emasculation pajamas” (a phrase coined by Mark Ruffalo), a.k.a. a gray mo-cap suit, drolly explaining to a confused and wound-up Thor how Goldblum’s intergalactic gladiatorial fighting ring operates. Waititi joked that in the most recent Korg concept art, the Kronan had been given “the latest” fashion when it comes to leather battle man-kinis. “In New Zealand,” he said with a grin, “this is what we wear.” But the motion tests Waititi showed prove that Korg isn’t all smiles and man-kinis. He’s also got a massive club and, when it comes to fighting, is something of a “slugger.”
The other space fighter potentially joining Thor and Hulk in the ring is Miek, another comic book character that Waititi describes as “insectoid with a crab mouth.” Miek—who also comes from the comics—is a more nimble fighter. The inclusion of “Planet Hulk” comic characters like Miek and Kronan in Ragnorak is great news for book purists—but the addition of Waititi to the cast is good news for everyone.