Marvel Studios has tapped Destin Daniel Cretton to helm the upcoming flick ‘Shang-Chi: Master of Kung-Fu’. Cretton directed the multiple-award-winning ‘Short Term 12’ and another award-winner, ‘The Glass Castle’, both of which starred Marvel’s latest box office champ, Brie Larson (‘Captain Marvel’). He is currently shooting ‘Just Mercy’ starring Michael B. Jordan. In addition, Cretton created and developed a TV series ‘Scenes For Minors’ with ‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler.
Is it a coincidence that Cretton has previously worked with ‘Captain Marvel’s Larson and ‘Black Panther’s Jordan and Coogler? Maybe the universe meant for this to be, as ‘Black Panther’ was Marvel’s first movie with a black lead, and ‘Captain Marvel’ was the first with a solo female front and center. ‘Shang-Chi’ will be the studio’s first movie with an Asian or Asian American main character. Things that make you go “Hmmmmm…”
The film is also expected to have a largely Asian or Asian American cast. The screenplay is by Dave Callaham (‘Wonder Woman 1984’), who is American of Chinese descent.
For the ‘Shang-Chi’ gig, Cretton beat out Justin Tipping (‘Dear White People’), Alan Yang (‘Master of None’), and Deborah Chow (‘Jessica Jones’, ‘The Mandalorian’).
The character Shang-Chi was raised in isolation by his wealthy crime boss father Fu Manchu and trained to be the ultimate assassin. However, shortly after being dispatched to kill his father’s enemies, he discovered that Fu Manchu was actually evil and turned against him.
Shang-Chi was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, but the comic, ‘The Hands of Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu’ (usually referred to simply as ‘Master of Kung Fu’) really saw a popularity spike after writer Doug Moench and artist Paul Gulacy took over.
Unfortunately, the early ‘Shang-Chi’ comics were seeped in racial stereotypes. Marvel previously tried to avoid similar issues in ‘Doctor Strange’ by recasting the Ancient One with Celtic Caucasian Tilda Swinton, which proved disastrous as fans cried “White Washing.” It remains to be seen how this project can avoid the stereotypes without similarly raising a ruckus.
Shang-Chi wasn’t really a superhero, although in more recent comics, he has worked alongside the Heroes for Hire and joined the Avengers. In the ‘Avengers’ comic, he gained the ability to create duplicates of himself.
Marvel is remaining tight-lipped about its future plans, but with ‘Avengers: Endgame’ arriving next month, that may be relaxed soon. Check back for updates!
Source: The Hollywood Reporter