Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ taps Destin Daniel Cretton to direct

Destin Daniel Cretton with actress Brie Larson in 2013.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton, who will helm Marvel’s “Shang-Chi,” with actress Brie Larson in 2013. The pair worked together on the film “Short Term 12.”
(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

As “Captain Marvel” continues to rule the box office, its studio is making moves that offer glimpses into what appears to be the much more inclusive future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On Wednesday it was revealed that Destin Daniel Cretton has been tapped to direct “Shang-Chi,” Marvel Studios’ first movie to focus on a superhero of Asian descent. The news was first reported by Deadline.

Cretton is best known for writing and directing “Short Term 12,” a film starring Brie Larson as a young woman who works at a group home. He is currently working with Larson and fellow MCU actor Michael B. Jordan on “Just Mercy,” a movie about a civil rights defense attorney who takes on the case of a death-row inmate.


In the comics, Shang-Chi is a martial arts expert sometimes referred to as the “Master of Kung Fu.” Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, Shang-Chi first appeared in December 1973’s “Special Marvel Edition” No. 15.

He was initially introduced as the son of the villain Fu Manchu and unaware that his father was actually evil, although in true comics fashion his parentage has been altered a bit in the years since.

It was previously announced that Chinese American writer Dave Callaham would be penning the script for “Shang-Chi.” Callaham’s superhero credentials include co-writing Warner Bros.’ upcoming “Wonder Woman 1984” with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns, as well as writing the script for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2.”

Part of Callaham’s task will be to modernize Shang-Chi and his story to free him from past racist tropes.

Marvel is reportedly hoping “Shang-Chi” will follow in “Black Panther’s” successful footsteps by telling a story tackling Asian and Asian American themes with Asian and Asian American talent both behind and in front of the camera.

Twitter: @tracycbrown