Shang-Chi Director Sticks With Disney For Action-Comedy Series American Born Chinese

In an ideal world, talented up-and-coming filmmakers who have caught the attention of major blockbuster franchises would then take advantage of the boost in publicity afterwards to work on various intimate projects that are near and dear to their hearts — as opposed to simply remaining in the blockbuster cycle for the foreseeable future. Lately, however, there's been a pervasive narrative out there that these directors don't actually seem to follow this trajectory in the same way that names like Christopher Nolan or Taika Waititi did. They're the exceptions rather than the rule, the idea goes. For one recent example, James Gunn has worked on superhero properties almost exclusively since getting his big break with Marvel in 2014 and, well, that doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon.

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" director Destin Daniel Cretton is looking to reverse that trend, however, as the news comes down that he's set to direct a new Disney+ series that focuses on cultural issues as they relate to the immigrant experience.

American Born Chinese

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Destin Daniel Cretton's next project after bringing some much-needed diversity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" will be a series adaptation of a graphic novel titled "American Born Chinese." Disney+ has already given the green light for a straight-to-series order from co-creators (and sibling creative team) Kelvin Yu and Charles Yu. Kelvin Yu has worked as a writer, story editor, and co-executive producer on "Bob's Burgers" and has also acted in numerous films, ranging from appearances in "Felicity" and "Frasier" to roles in "Cloverfield" and "Master of None." Charles Yu served as co-producer on "Legion," producer on "Sorry for Your Loss," and has been a writer and story editor on "Westworld." Kelvin will be showrunner on this new project.

President of Disney Branded Television, Ayo Davis, said the following in a statement:

"We are delighted to continue our relationship with [executive producers] Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan and thrilled that Destin Daniel Cretton is set to direct. The team are visionaries in bringing character-driven adventures to life, and we cannot wait for our audience to experience this fantastically memorable and imaginative adaptation of the graphic novel. This is a great universal story that moves between worlds and explores the impact of culture, identity, and acceptance through the lens of adolescence."

The "American Born Chinese" graphic novel follows the character of Jin Wang, who is described as "a teenager juggling his high school social life and immigrant home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods." The heightened and fantastical-sounding story should provide plenty of opportunity for exploration into matters of culture and assimilation, as Cretton in particular has proven to be quite adept at. He released a statement on the project as well, saying:

"Reading Kelvin's riveting adaptation of Gene's incredible novel had me laughing and crying and jumping out of my chair on every page. I feel deeply connected to the characters in this story and the brilliant team bringing it to life. This show is going to be unlike anything we've experienced on TV, and I can't wait for the world to see what we're cooking up."

For those looking for more information on the graphic novel, the novel appears to be well worth checking out.