Continuing their tradition of giving promising indie filmmakers a shot at the big leagues, Marvel has tapped Destin Daniel Cretton to helm Marvel’s Shang-Chi. The film will be primarily influenced by martial arts epics such as Enter The Dragon and will feature a mostly Asian cast as Marvel continues to correct their lack of diversity in front of and behind the camera. The screenplay by Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984) is reportedly aiming to correct some of the problematic stereotypical elements that comic has had in the past in order to make the character a mainstream sensation.
Cretton made a name for himself with his achingly moving debut, Short Term 12, which served as a breakout role for Captain Marvel herself, Brie Larson. He and Larson have had an ongoing creative relationship ever since, bringing us the criminally underrated Jeannette Walls biopic The Glass Castle and the upcoming courtroom drama Just Mercy starring Michael B. Jordan. Cretton’s more understated style may seem like an odd match for this material on paper, but I suspect that his ability to wring stunningly heartfelt performances out of actors we’re not particularly familiar with will win out. Personal Note: A few years before Short Term 12 opened, Cretton was a teacher’s assistant for the video/film program at Canyon Crest Academy, my high school. I had the honor of learning from him and can personally vouch for what a humble and kind soul he is. I remember sitting in the theater during Short Term 12, realizing that the man who once taught me how to frame a shot was, in fact, about to become one of our generation’s most exciting filmmakers.This has been a truly surreal day for me and my friends in San Diego and on behalf of us all, we are so proud of you, Destin.