Destin Daniel Cretton Marvel’s Choice To Direct ‘Shang-Chi’

Jared Siskin  Patrick McMullan  Getty Marvel

Jared Siskin Patrick McMullan Getty Marvel

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

Marvel likely hopes "Shang-Chi" will do the same, following the success of last year's "Crazy Rich Asians", which smashed box-office records after becoming the first Hollywood studio movie in 25 years to feature a majority Asian cast.

Late a year ago, we learned that Marvel Studios is developing a new film starring Shang-Chi, the martial artist superhero created in 1973 by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.

The future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is starting to come into focus, and it includes Kung-Fu hero Shang-Chi.

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Black Panther provided a watershed template for how to do this, making a film that tied into African and African American cultures and the sensibilities of its almost all-black cast, with a black director in Ryan Coogler and writer in Joe Robert Cole.

He is now directing "Just Mercy", an adaptation of lawyer and civil rights advocate Bryan Stevenson's memoir, featuring Larson and Michael B. Jordan. Previously, the studio recruited Asian-American screenwriter Dave Callaham to pen the script. Callaham is also co-wrote Wonder Woman 1984 with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns and is now writing the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for Sony.

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. Cretton formed a solid working relationship with star Brie Larson, and went on to direct her again in 2017's The Glass Castle. I wouldn't be surprised if Larson put a good word in for Cretton with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. Callaham's impressive resume includes co-writing the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 and Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel. The movie doesn't arrive until 2020, but Cretton clearly has strong ties to one of the Marvel juggernaut's brightest new stars.

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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