Avengers 5 nabbed Marvel Phase 4 Best Director

Marvel Studios has reportedly hired Daniel Destin Cretton to direct the upcoming Avengers movie.

According The Hollywood Reporter (opens in a new tab)Cretton – who directed the 2021 Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – has signed on to direct production on Avengers: Kang Dynasty.

Cretton’s continued involvement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) will come as no surprise to die-hard Marvel fans. After his superb work on arguably the best Marvel Phase 4 movie, the American filmmaker signed a multi-project deal with Marvel Studios in December 2021. Those plans would include Cretton returning to direct a Shang-Chi sequel.

While Marvel also hands over the reins of Avengers 5 to Cretton, the studio clearly has faith in the director of Just Mercy delivering another suitably epic superhero movie. Avengers: Kang Dynasty won’t arrive in theaters until May 2025, however – it’s part of Marvel’s Phase 6 plans, which were tentatively revealed during the studio’s keynote presentation at Comic-Con 2022. It remains so plenty of time for Cretton to create a plan worthy of an Avengers movie.

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It’s unclear if Cretton will have a dual responsibility on Avengers 5. Cretton co-wrote Shang-Chi alongside Dave Callaham (Ant-Man, Wonder Woman 1984) but, according to an MCU insider Charles Murphy (opens in a new tab)it’s unclear if Cretton will write and direct the next Avengers movie.

It’s also uncertain whether Cretton is directing Avengers 6, aka Secret Wars. The Russo Brothers, who directed four MCU films including Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, have repeatedly spoken of their desire to adapt this comic book series for the MCU. However, with the duo busy on other projects, including a sequel to Netflix’s latest blockbuster The Gray Man, the duo’s schedule is packed enough as it is.

If The Hollywood Reporter’s claim is correct, it will be a busy few years for Cretton. In addition to Shang-Chi 2, the 44-year-old is believed to be developing a Disney Plus series based on another underrated Marvel superhero in Wonder Man. Meanwhile, a Shang-Chi spin-off show starring Meng’er Zhang’s Xu Xialing – aka Shang-Chi’s sister – is also in the works for Disney Plus. It is believed that Cretton is also involved in its development, which would follow Xu’s revamp of the Ten Rings organization. However, Marvel didn’t provide any details (or confirmation, for that matter) on either TV show during its Comic-Con 2022 main panel.

In fact, it’s going to be a busy time overall for Marvel. At Comic-Con, the studio announced that its current Phase 4 slate will conclude with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which will arrive in theaters in November. Marvel also announced its full lineup of films and shows for Phase 5 of the MCU, starting with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania in February 2023. In total, Phase 5 will feature six films and seven TV series.

Finally, Marvel announced its plans for Phase 6, which will kick off in November 2024 with its Fantastic Four reboot. The next two Avengers films – The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars – will follow in May and November 2025 respectively.


Analysis: A stellar director for a huge MCU movie

Simu Liu's Shang-Chi prepares to fight in his first Marvel movie outing

Shang-Chi is one of the most underrated MCU films of all time. (Image credit: Marvel Studios/Disney)

On the surface, Cretton may not have emerged as the most likely candidate to lead Marvel’s next Avengers movie. Until directing Shang-Chi, Cretton had been heavily involved in the independent film scene, with credits on such films as I Am Not a Hipster and Short Term 12.

However, given how well-received Shang-Chi has been, it’s only fitting that Cretton would have the opportunity to direct a grander MCU movie involving multiple superheroes. Granted, Shang-Chi only earned $432.2 million at the worldwide box office — making it the fifth-lowest-grossing Marvel movie of all time — but that was at a time when the pandemic still weighed heavily on the theater experience. For context, it beat out another Phase 4 movie in Black Widow ($379.8 million) and the first Captain America movie ($370.6 million) financially. Considering the immense popularity of this duo and Shang-Chi’s relative obscurity before making his MCU debut, its box office receipts shouldn’t be sniffed at.

Meanwhile, Shang-Chi is one of the highest rated Marvel movies of all time. The film is currently ninth on List of Rotten Tomatoes’ Best Marvel Movies (opens in a new tab) with a certified freshness rating of 91%. Spider-Man: No Way Home is the only MCU Phase 4 film with the highest score (93%) – again, given the popularity of the webslinger, the fact that Shang-Chi fights back against Spider’s third MCU outing -Man is something to admire.

Other than No Way Home, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is my favorite Marvel Phase 4 movie. Granted, it may rank 18th out of 29 movies in TechRadar’s ranked guide to the best Marvel movies, but it’s a heartbreaking, funny, and moving movie that packs some of the MCU’s best action sequences. A lot of that is down to Cretton’s involvement, and if he can deliver an equally balanced, thrilling, and shocking movie with Avengers: Kang Dynasty, we’re all in for a wild ride.

For more Marvel-based content, check out our Marvel movies in order guide.

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