Marvel Taps Destin Daniel Cretton to Direct Shang-Chi

Marvel Taps Destin Daniel Cretton to Direct Shang-Chi

Shang-Chi will be the first Marvel movie to feature an Asian lead.

Marvel Studios has hired Destin Daniel Cretton to direct "Shang-Chi", its first superhero movie with an Asian protagonist.

Cretton is best known for directing the critically lauded indie "Short Term 12" in 2013, starring Brie Larson, who was up-and-coming at the time, as a supervisor of a group home for teenagers experiencing mental health issues and abuse.

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In the comics, Shang-Chi is a skilled martial artist who was raised and trained by his father Fu Manchu, a Chinese crimelord and immortal sorcerer who repeatedly attempted to conquer the world, in an isolated compound located in China. When Deadline first revealed the project late a year ago, the studio had set Chinese-American scribe Dave Callaham to write the screenplay.

Shang-Chi joins an ever-growing field of developing projects that will reshape the MCU following the events of Avengers: Endgame. Additionally, he is now directing Just Mercy, a biopic about Civil Rights attorney Bryan Stevenson starring Larson and Michael B. Jordan. In the comics, Shang-Chi is a master of numerous unarmed and weaponry-based wushu styles, including the use of the gun, nunchaku, and jian. (If the pattern holds, the dramatic and comedic aspects of this movie will be great, but the action will suffer.) He broke onto the scene with I Am Not a Hipster back in 2012 (/Film's Peter Sciretta really dug that movie) before getting all kinds of attention with Short Term 12 the following year, a small, quiet indie that featured one hell of a cast (Kaitlyn Dever, Stephanie Beatriz, and John Gallagher Jr. were also in that one). His other directorial credits include The Glass Castle. It is clear that after Marvel Studios' unparalleled decade of success following Iron Man, Kevin Feige's next iterations of superhero franchises will distinguish themselves with ethnic diversity and inclusion, in front of and behind the camera. That field already includes a Black Widow movie, sequels to Black Panther and Doctor Strange, and an Eternals film, and while many of Marvel's ambitions for its future remain in shadow, that's an exciting lineup already.

There's no timetable in place for Shang-Chi yet, and we don't know what the studio's approach to the character is going to be (aside from that "modernized" comment).

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