HEAT VISION

Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' Sets Director Destin Daniel Cretton

The 'Short Term 12' filmmaker will tackle the studio's first project starring an Asian lead.
Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi   |   Getty Images; Courtesy of Marvel
The 'Short Term 12' filmmaker will tackle the studio's first project starring an Asian lead.

Marvel Studios has hired its director for Shang-Chi, the project that will feature the studio's first Asian lead.

Destin Daniel Cretton will direct the feature, based on the classic character known for his martial arts prowess. Cretton broke out with the 2013 indie favorite Short Term 12, which starred Brie Larson as a woman working in a group home for teenagers. Cretton reteamed with Larson for 2017's The Glass Castle, and he is currently directing the Captain Marvel star and Black Panther's Michael B. Jordan in Just Mercy, based on the memoir of Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson.

Other filmmakers who were in the running to helm Shang-Chi included Dear White People's Justin Tipping; Master of None's Alan Yang, who is behind the upcoming John Cho movie Tigertail; and Deborah Chow, whose credits include episodes of Reign, Jessica Jones and the upcoming Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian.

Shang-Chi, who in the comics was born in China to a Chinese father and a white American mother, first appeared in 1973's Special Marvel Edition No. 15 and was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin after Marvel failed to acquire the comic book rights to the television series Kung Fu. Shang-Chi was trained as a martial artist assassin by his father, the infamous pulp villain Fu Manchu, but later became a hero after rebelling against his father's ways. Shang-Chi was a hit character in the '70s, and recently saw a revival as a member of the Avengers during 2012's Marvel Now! Publishing event.

Wonder Woman 1984 screenwriter Dave Callaham is penning the script for Shang-Chi and will update the character for modern audiences. Marvel is said to be planning on assembling a largely Asian-American and Asian cast for the feature.

Marvel head Kevin Feige is producing, with Marvel's Louis D'Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Jonathan Schwartz executive producing. The studio is coming off of last week's successful opening of Captain Marvel, which has already passed the $500 million mark at the box office and is the studio's first female-led outing.

News of Shang-Chi comes as Marvel eyes an end to the 11-year journey it began with 2008's Iron Man and will in some ways conclude with next month's Avengers: Endgame. Aside from Spider-Man: Far From Home (due out July 5), the studio has not revealed its post-Endgame plans, though films it has in the works include sequels to Black Panther and Doctor Strange, a Black Widow prequel and The Eternals.

Cretton is repped by WME and attorney Chad Christopher of Stone, Genow, Smelkinson, Binder & Christopher.

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