Marvel’s Shang-Chi movie just got closer to being the next Black Panther by setting Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) to direct.
Deadline has the exclusive on the hire, with the outlet reporting that Cretton marks the next step in Marvel Studios plan to have the movie follow the lead of Marvel’s first Best Picture nominee and populate the new film with Asian-American talent both in front of and behind the camera. The project was first announced in 2018, with Chinese-American David Callaham (The Expendables) brought on to script the adaptation.
Cretton previously directed Captain Marvel star Brie Larson in his feature directorial debut, the very underrated Short Term 12. (We’re guessing Larson likely vouched for Cretton and, if you have seen Short Term 12, then you know this director is scary-good at what he does. We’re talking Ryan Coogler-level good.) THR reports that other filmmakers in the running for the coveted director spot included Justin Tipping (Netflix’s Dear White People), Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), and Alan Yang (Master of None).
Shang-Chi, who made his Marvel Comics debut in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition #15, is the son of a Chinese father who kept his child isolated from the rest of the world. Shang-Chi trained, however, in martial arts and developed a superhero-worthy skillset that came in handy when his father forced his son out into the world to service the patriarch’s nefarious purposes. Turns out, Shang-Chi’s father’s humanitarian status is just an act. He is actually Fu Manchu, who may or may not be immortal. This revelation sets father and son on a path to become rivals, a conflict that the movie will no doubt mine for its considerable dramatic potential.
Callaham’s script is said to obviously update the character for modern audiences, avoiding the stereotypical trappings assigned to ’70s comics characters like Shang-Chi.
While Shang-Chi has yet to be given a release date, it is among several titles on Marvel’s slate (possibly Phase Four) as the studio concludes their unprecedented 11-year run of big-screen adventures that concludes with the release of Avengers: Endgame. The Infinity War follow-up hits theaters April 26.
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