Destin Daniel Cretton didn’t seem like the obvious candidate to helm a $200 million Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster, something he’s admitted himself. The filmmaker was best known for his small scale independent dramas Short Term 12, The Shack and Just Mercy, none of which featured grandstanding action sequences or oodles of visual effects.
Of course, Kevin Feige’s outfit are becoming increasingly famed for picking their directors right out of left field, and Cretton revealed that it was a conversation with Black Panther‘s Ryan Coogler that ultimately convinced him tackling a project from the most successful franchise in history was an opportunity too good to turn down.
In a new interview, Cretton surprisingly said that he’d told his agent he actively didn’t want to work on anything Marvel-related, which came just weeks before Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings began looking for a director. Following that up, the 42 year-old confirmed that despite his initial disinterest, he felt a personal connection to the title hero that was too strong to ignore.
“I really personally connect with Shang-Chi’s journey. I love that this is a superhero that doesn’t get splashed with chemicals to get his superpower. That it is a journey of self-discovery, of growing up and learning how to finally deal with pain that he’s been running away from his entire life and that, when he is finally able to look inside into his past and embrace the good, bad, the joy, the pain and accept it all as part of himself, that when he finally steps into his big boy shoes, I think that’s what we’re all doing as humans in some way or another.”
By all accounts, Cretton appears to have knocked Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings out of the park, with many reviews calling it one of the MCU’s best-ever origin stories. A blockbuster comic book adaptation took him far out of his comfort zone and into uncharted territory, but that’s something Marvel Studios have been actively seeking from their directorial talent more than ever before.