On the heels of the record-breaking success of “Captain Marvel,” Disney and Marvel Studios are lining up Brie Larson’s “Short Term 12” director Destin Daniel Cretton to helm “Shang-Chi.” The movie will be the first title in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature an Asian superhero in the lead role and have a predominantly Asian cast. The project was first announced last December, with reports saying it was top priority for Marvel to find an Asian or Asian-American director for the movie.
“Shang-Chi” is being written by Chinese-American screenwriter Dave Callaham, whose credits include “The Expendables” franchise and the upcoming “Wonder Woman 1984,” which he co-wrote with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns. Shang-Chi was introduced in 1971 and is often referred to as the Master of Kung Fu in the comic books. The character has extraordinary martial arts skills and in some comics has the power to create duplicates of himself.
Just like many directors before him, including “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler and “Captain Marvel” duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Cretton will be making the jump from indies and mid-budget features to Hollywood blockbusters by going Marvel. The filmmaker is best known for directing his SXSW-winning indie “Short Term 12,” which starred Larson and Lakeith Stanfield. Cretton reunited with Larson for “The Glass Castle,” and he’s currently in production with Larson and “Black Panther” star Michael B. Jordan on the legal drama “Just Mercy,” which will open in theaters in 2020.
The Cretton/”Shang-Chi” announcement helps bring into better focus the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe following the events of “Avengers: Endgame.” Marvel has been incredibly secretive about what its future plans are, but Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has been vocal about wanting to feature more diversity in front of and behind the camera. “Shang-Chi” is being positioned as the company’s next “Black Panther,” which earned Marvel its first Oscar nomination for Best Picture and won three Oscars.