Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton explains how his Asian American upbringing brought authenticity to the Marvel movie

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is developing in new and exciting ways, and 2021 alone is proof of that. One of the most exciting movies that has been added to the MCU canon this year is Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings. The film not only provided audiences with plenty of action, humor, and comic book goodness, but it was also a watershed moment for Asian portrayal. Director Destin Daniel Cretton was keenly aware of what his film could mean to certain groups of people, and he recently shared with us how his own Asian American upbringing helped bring a level of authenticity to the film.

Destiny Daniel Cretton had an important task ahead of him after signing for the film. It had to introduce a classic character to a non-comedic audience and honor the character’s story. Of course, he also wanted to faithfully represent the richness of Asian culture. CinemaBlend’s Law Sharma recently sat down with Cretton to mark the home release of Shang-Chi. During their conversation, the Short term 12 The filmmaker reflected on his childhood in Hawaii and revealed that his mix of cultures played a big part in shaping his cinematic eye:

I grew up in Hawaii, so diversity is the norm. Mixing cultures and ideas, for me, is the most rewarding way to live and when it comes to creating a movie set, it’s the most rewarding way to be creative. And especially with a story like this, it was really important to surround ourselves, obviously, with people who understand the culture of the characters that we have and understand the intricacies of those cultures, to grow up as a Chinese American living in the Bay. Area, to grow up in mainland China compared to Hong Kong.

What the director is emphasizing here is that Asian culture, like the others, is not a monolith. Within it, people have different experiences, and that was beautifully portrayed in the Marvel movie. Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler managed to do something similar when he compared and contrasted the cultures of African and African American people in his own superhero epic. Just as Coogler drew on Africa and its culture for inspiration in front of and behind the camera, Destin Daniel Cretton did the same with China for his film. Cretton continued:

And also understand how vast China is and how many different cultures there are just in this one country. So we were really, I think, privileged to have so many different people from all over the world working on this movie, who could personally identify with each of these characters and the uniqueness of those characters. And for me one of the most important parts of this production was having all these voices on set saying, “This food is not what he would have on the table, this music is not. not correct. If Wenwu is really from that area, he wouldn’t have that on the wall. ‘ So having these kinds of conversations was really important to this process.

It’s encouraging to see that the MCU is finally opening the floodgates and bringing in some prominent figures from different ethnicities. With regard to the Asian representation, figures like Sersi of Gemma Chan from Eternals and Ned Leeds by Jacob Batalon from Spider Man franchise were inspiring to watch. And of course, Shang-Chi ‘Simu liu also breaks down barriers and kick butt like that.

At present, Destin Daniel Cretton is ready to lead a sequel and tackle a spinoff series for Disney +. He didn’t say too many details, but he told us the only star he would like to throw in the follow-up. The filmmaker simply took it out of the park on its first go-around, and it will be cool to see how it continues to develop in this rich corner of the cinematic universe.

Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings is now available on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD and can also be streamed on Disney +.


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