As Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings gets ready to kick things up a notch for Marvel Phase 4, director Destin Daniel Cretton has been opening up about the film’s influences and saying that audiences haven’t seen everything the new MCU hero played by Simu Liu has to offer.
In a new interview, Cretton revealed that Shang-Chi will draw heavily from the East Asian action-cinema genre, which ranges from the fast-paced Jackie Chan films to the mystical, high-flying wuxia films. Via Empire:
“Authenticity and respect and staying true to this genre was the main objective from day one,” he tells Empire in the new issue. That meant drawing from the greats. “There’s choreography that’s reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other fight scenes are inspired by Jackie Chan. We also had choreographers from mainland China who created some beautiful wuxia-style fight scenes.”
Cretton also revealed that Liu’s characters will be more than just a master of kung fu, and he’ll be able to go toe-to-toe with his MCU counterparts. “Shang-Chi is an incredible martial artist, but he’s so much more than that.”
Interestingly, the director who made his name with the indie film Short Term 12 wasn’t interested in tackling superhero fare, and he even told Marvel head Kevin Feige as much during their first meeting. “That’s usually not the way director meetings start, by saying, ‘You know, I was never interested in doing one of these,’” Feige previously told Entertainment Weekly with a laugh. At the end of the day, Cretton couldn’t resist the opportunity to deliver a superhero that he would loved to have seen during his childhood, which has been sorely lacking in Asian representation.
“Because he had the mask on, I could dress up like Spider-Man for Halloween. I had a handful of other characters that looked like me on screen, but there were maybe two or three that I could choose from, and superheroes were not a part of that,” Cretton said.