It was announced late last year that Marvel Studios was developing a movie based on Marvel Comics’ Shang-Chi with Dave Callaham writing the screenplay. That must be going well since Marvel Studios today announced that Short Term 12 director Dustin Daniel Cretton would direct the film, according to Deadline.
Both Callaham and Cretton are Asian-American, and Cretton recently wrapped filming Just Mercy, which stars Michael B. Jordan and his frequent collaborator (and muse) Brie Larson. Both Jordan and Larson have made an impact in recent Marvel Studios movies, Larson in the title role of the box office hit Captain Marvel and Jordan as Killmonger in last year’s mega-blockbuster Black Panther. Larson also starred in Cretton’s Short Term 12, where she first started getting attention as an actor, and in 2017’s adaptation of The Glass Castle.
This decision by Marvel Studio to tackle a movie featuring Shang-Chi is an interesting one, since there has yet to be an Asian superhero in any movie previously, and this would be the first Asian superhero in a Marvel Studios movie, unless you count Doctor Strange’s loyal assistant Wong. (Arguably, Mantis from the Guardians of the Galaxy movies is depicted as an alien.)
If Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy may seem like obscure Marvel characters to make a movie about, then Shang-Chi may be even less known, having primarily appeared in the Master of Kung-Fu series through the ’70s and ’80s and few of those Master of Kung Fu comics have been reprinted. Both of those movies, and pretty much everything else Marvel Studios has done, have turned into huge hits, so the decision to make a Shang-Chi movie and how quickly things are moving to get it made shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise.
Edward Douglas has been writing about movies and other forms of entertainment for over 25 years, so he’s probably older than you.