Marvel Studios' first all-new property of Phase 4, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, came into overwhelming success upon its debut in September 2021. Setting the record for the biggest labor-day weekend of all time and bringing an exciting new narrative into the MCU, Simu Liu and the team behind Shang-Chi exceeded their expectations and gave Marvel a bonafide superstar hero to work with moving forward.
Even with so many other projects confirmed over the next two years, Marvel appears to be all-in on developing Liu's hero, particularly with how invested he is in pushing the MCU to new heights on and off-screen. Rumors have already pointed to the studio looking to start shooting a sequel to Shang-Chi in 2023, and there are talks of a spin-off show diving into the film's post-credits scene with Xialing leading the Ten Rings.
At the forefront of Shang-Chi's MCU tenure is director Destin Daniel Cretton, who has continually shown tremendous passion for bringing the MCU's first Asian superhero into the story alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Now, it's become clear that Cretton's time with Marvel is far from a one-time experience thanks to news confirming his status with the studio.
Shang-Chi Director Inks Longterm Deal
Deadline revealed that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton signed a multi-year contract with Marvel Studios and Hulu's Onyx Collective. The director is reportedly already developing an MCU spin-off series for Disney+ as part of this deal, which is rumored to center around Meng'er Zhang's Xialing and the Ten Rings.
Disney also officially confirmed through this report that Cretton will return to direct the sequel to Shang-Chi, which debuted in theaters in September 2021.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige described Cretton as "an amazing collaborator" after their time working on Shang-Chi and expressed excitement to "expand [their] relationship" for future projects:
“Destin is an amazing collaborator who brought a unique perspective and skill to Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings. We had a fantastic time working together on the film and he has so many intriguing ideas for stories to bring to life on Disney+, so we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with him and can’t wait to get started."
These quotes indicate that Feige wants to continue working with Cretton for more projects after the Shang-Chi sequel and the planned Disney+ series.
Cretton & Marvel in for the Long-Haul
As Marvel Studios moves further into Phase 4, the team is quickly nailing down some of its most successful behind-the-scenes personnel to work together for the next few years, specifically through the diversity-focused Onyx Collective division. WandaVision showrunner Jac Schaeffer is locked into a three-year deal for projects with Marvel and 20th Television, while Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is already deep into development on multiple Wakanda-centric entries.
Now, Cretton joins those same ranks following his highly-praised efforts with Simu Liu on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Boasting the second-highest opening weekend box office gross of 2021 (at least, prior to Spider-Man: No Way Home), Cretton gave Shang-Chi a thrilling origin story in a post-Avengers: Endgame MCU, and fans couldn't get enough of it.
As exciting as this news is, the big questions that remain present are how long Cretton's deal lasts and what specific projects he will take on.
Already confirmed are the likely Xialing Disney+ show and the sequel to his first MCU film, although there are plenty of other opportunities for him to develop the Shang-Chi story even further. No matter what the specifics turn out to be, Cretton will make his impact felt in a big way over the coming years.