Marvel Studios brought the house down at Hall H at this year's San Diego Comic-Con when president Kevin Feige announced that the next two Avengers movies will cap off Phase 6 and the Multiverse Saga. These two films are titled Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Based on the title, one of them will at least thoroughly explore the backstory of Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror.
While the exact plot details from the next two Avengers movies are still being kept under wraps, one of the main topics of discussion among fans is who the films' directors will be.
The Russo Brothers, who directed Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, have been the top candidate to direct such ensemble films. However, Joe Russo has already debunked that he and his brother are in talks with Marvel about helming another Avengers flick.
Feige also confirmed that the Russos are "not connected" to the next two Avengers films while also promising to fans that they will soon find out who will be the director of these massive ensemble movies soon. Now, it looks like one of the filmmakers who will helm the next Avengers movie has been revealed in a report.
Avengers 5 Taps Shang-Chi Director
The Hollywood Reporter shared that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton will direct Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
In addition to the Shang-Chi sequel, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty marks Cretton's third film in the MCU. This comes after Cretton signed an overall deal with Marvel Studios that he signed in the wake of Shang-Chi's success.
On the small screen, Cretton is also set to develop a Shang-Chi spinoff series and will also serve as executive producer on the reported Wonder Man Disney+ series.
Back in December 2021, Cretton was asked if he'd like to emulate what the Russo Brothers did during the Infinity Saga: moving from solo superhero movies onto ensemble stories like the Avengers movies. The Shang-Chi director admitted that it is "definitely not a hope of mine," saying that he doesn't "really aspire for one or the other:"
"That's definitely not a hope of mine. I don't really aspire for one or the other. Once we land on the story that we want to tell, it'll define how many characters will enter that story. But I'm mainly excited to explore the characters more and their emotional journeys, and watch them grow and try to achieve things and fail, and see how they get themselves up out of the mud. So that's what I'm most excited. And I'm not sure how many characters we'll be introducing in the next one."
In a separate interview with Deadline, Joe Russo mentioned that directing Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame back to back was a "massive undertaking" for them, saying that they're going to "have to sleep on" the prospect of doing it all over again:
“I mean, we say the same thing. Our love for Marvel is based on the books that we read as kids and the books that we fall in love with. One series that we adored growing up was Secret Wars. It’s incredibly ambitious, bigger than Infinity War and Endgame, but it is a massive undertaking. And those two movies were very hard to make. So trying to imagine making another two movies even bigger than those two, we’re gonna have to sleep on it.”
This could indicate the unlikelihood of Cretton returning to direct Secret Wars, with the Russos possibly taking over the director's chair to fulfill their dream of helming such an ensemble movie.
Destin Daniel Cretton's Historic Avengers Takeover
After Joss Whedon (The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron) and the Russo Brothers (Infinity War and Endgame), Destin Daniel Cretton is the fourth Marvel director to helm an Avengers movie for Marvel Studios. Shang-Chi's historic debut and overwhelmingly positive response from fans and critics may have been the reason why Cretton was hired for The Kang Dynasty, but the veteran filmmaker would have made an impressive pitch to the studio that ultimately landed him his directing position.
The timing of Cretton's hiring for The Kang Dynasty could also hint that things are moving quickly for at least one Avengers film. It's likely that Cretton could oversee what Ant-Man and the Quantumania director Peyton Reed did for Kang in his own movie, as well as the character's impending small-screen involvement in Loki Season 2 to better familiarize himself with the time-traveling villain.
Considering the Russos' statement above about them not wanting to direct back-to-back Avengers movies, it's possible that Marvel would give the Russos the opportunity to direct Secret Wars (if their schedule permits), thus paving the way for Cretton to handle The Kang Dynasty. This movie is beneficial to all parties involved as it allows each director to fully focus on one movie that would give them the opportunity to seamlessly handle the characters and storyline in an impactful way.
Knowing how Cretton handled Shang-Chi's debut and Tony Leung's Mandarin, it's reasonable to assume that the Marvel filmmaker would help craft a story that would make Kang a dangerous and calculating villain that would spell trouble for Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is set to premiere in theaters on May 2, 2025.