Marvel's first Asian-led superhero movie 'Shang-Chi' bags its director

Sergio Cunningham
March 15, 2019

If Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy may seem like obscure Marvel characters to make a movie about, then Shang-Chi may be even less known, having primarily appeared in the Master of Kung-Fu series through the '70s and '80s and few of those Master of Kung Fu comics have been reprinted.

Marvel Studios' Shang Chi film is set to introduce its first Asian lead protagonist and Destin Creston has been hired to helm the upcoming film after the company reportedly searched for an Asian or Asian-American filmmaker to introduce the hero in a project that explores Asian and Asian American themes. Late past year came word that the movie was in development; now The Hollywood Reporter says its found its director, Destin Daniel Cretton. In the comics, Shang-Chi is a "Master of Kung Fu" who is fast enough to dodge bullets, and he eventually gains the power to create an infinite number of duplicates of himself.

The character was created amid the martial arts craze in the 1970s, and some of Shang-Chi's earliest appearances are criticized for their stereotypical approach.

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Marvel Studios has often reached into the independent film world to pluck talented filmmakers for their superhero movies, and they've done it again with their Shang-Chi director.

He worked with Larson once again for 2017's The Glass Castle, and he is now directing the Captain Marvel star and Black Panther's Michael B. Jordan in Just Mercy. However, with a Chinese-American director (and writer in Dave Callaham of Wonder Woman 1984), we should hopefully get a movie that Chinese-American audiences will respond to. But according to Deadline, the script by David Callaham will modernize Shang-Chi to avoid such portrayals. He's now directing Just Mercy, which he also wrote, with Larson and Michael B. Jordan starring. Cretton previously directed Short Term 12, the 2013 indie that starred Brie Larson, Rami Malek, Lakeith Stanfield, and more.

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