'Shang-Chi' Director Destin Daniel Cretton Was Persuaded By Ryan Coogler To Direct The Marvel Movie

With the premiere for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings coming ever closer, the film's creative team is sharing more and more about their experience working in the Marvel world.

For director Destin Daniel Cretton, who came to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after helming acclaimed indie films like Short Term 12, the decision to even do a big MCU movie was something he wasn't sure about. But it was Black Panther writer-director Ryan Coogler who eased his fears.

“Don’t Ever Let Me Do A Marvel Movie”

In a press conference that /Film's Hoai-Tran Bui attended, Cretton shared he never thought he'd even pitch for a Marvel movie until Shang-Chi came along:

"I did have a giant personal fear of stepping into a movie like this. When I pitched to Kevin [Feige], in the pitch one of the last things I told myself, 'I'm just going to be myself.' I have a tendency to be pressured to not be myself. And I was like I'm just going to be myself in this in this pitch and walk out feeling good that I did that. The last thing that I admitted was they asked me, 'Have you have you always wanted to do a big Marvel movie?'"

It turns out, that Cretton had very strong feelings about not doing a Marvel film, and he said as much during his meeting with Marvel's creative head, Kevin Feige. "The truth was, a few weeks before they announced that they're looking for directors for [Shang-Chi],  I made a very real decision and called my manager or my agent and said, 'Don't ever let me do a Marvel movie,'" Cretton shared.

Cretton decided to also share this information during his pitch to Feige and other executives at Marvel, adding that when he found out they were making Shang-Chi, "something sparked in me that made me have to go in and just take a meeting."

Coogler Allayed Cretton's Fears

Cretton initially regretted saying that in the pitch room, but a conversation he had with Coogler eased his fears about doing a big Marvel film. "I was really scared of stepping into a big studio movie like this and scared of what it might do to me," he said. "I had a lot of fears, and the thing that Ryan said to me, which were really eased my mind was, 'The pressure is hard, it'll be the hardest thing potentially that you have done up to this point. But none of that pressure or none of those complications come from the people that you're working with, or for.'"

It sounds like Cretton enjoyed directing Shang-Chi and that his worries about working for such a big corporation didn't actualize. "This is a very special place to work where — not to toot Kevin's horn — but there is an environment of curiosity of exploration that comes from the top down," he said. "There is no fear-based mentality in this studio, which has really allowed us to take risks and chances and be able to instill that same fearless exploration with everybody involved in this film. And I think that's a huge reason that the movie turned out the way that it did."

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres in theaters on September 3, 2021.