Marvel Studios has found its director for Shang-Chi, its first superhero franchise starring an Asian protagonist. Destin Daniel Cretton will assume his spot in the director’s seat and Chinese-American screenwriter Dave Callaham will pen the screenplay. Cretton’s latest film Just Mercy - starring MCU’s Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan - is in post-production.
Callaham is currently maintaining an impressive stack of credentials thanks to a few upcoming sequels. He’s co-written the DC Warner Bros. sequel Wonder Woman 1984 alongside Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns as well as the initial drafts of Zombieland 2, which will go into production next January. He’s also been entrusted with the Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse franchise and is currently writing the second installment. Oh, and he originated the Expendables franchise, so he maaay just know his way around an action scene.
Marvel seems to have a keen understanding of inclusion - something that continues to perplex other studios, somehow - and is looking to involve as many Asian and Asian-American talent as possible, both in front of and behind the camera. The same method certainly paid off with Black Panther, which took home three Oscars and a Best Picture nomination after dominating the box office. It is truly not a difficult concept, plus the necessary involvement of voices like Cretton and Callaham should help the film steer clear of some of the more cringeworthy stereotypes that tend to haunt those comics characters from the ‘70s.