Marvel's first Asian-led superhero movie 'Shang-Chi' bags its director

Shang-Chi Marvel

Per The Hollywood Reporter, Cretton is best known for directing the movie Short Term 12, an independent film about a supervisor of a group home for troubled teenagers.

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.

He is now directing "Just Mercy", an adaptation of lawyer and civil rights advocate Bryan Stevenson's memoir, featuring Larson and Michael B. Jordan.

In the wake of Black Panther's massive success, Marvel is expanding its scope and looking to tap into audiences that haven't been particularly well-served at the box office.

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It was revealed that Marvel was developing a Shang-Chi film last December, though the company actually announced it would make a film based on the hero back in 2005 - once the MCU began taking shape, it appears Shang-Chi was put on the back-burner. Previously, the studio recruited Asian-American screenwriter Dave Callaham to pen the script. Callaham is also co-wrote Wonder Woman 1984 with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns and is now writing the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse for Sony. It follows the story of Chinese-American superhero, Shang-Chi, created by artist Jim Starlin and writer Steve Englehart.

Shang-Chi would be Cretton's first movie of this kind of scale. That series ran from 1974 to 1983. But according to Deadline, the script by David Callaham will modernize Shang-Chi to avoid such portrayals. In recent years, he has become a prominent member of the Avengers and the Secret Avengers, with major roles in both Jonathan Hickman and Warren Ellis' runs on the titles.

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.

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