The Marvel Cinematic Universe – populated with the likes of Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America – is getting a movie about its first Asian superhero, and the film is being directed by Maui’s own Destin Daniel Cretton. Marvel Studios announced last week that it is developing plans to bring the superhero Shang-Chi, the “Master of Kung Fu,” to the silver screen; the character first appeared in Marvel comics in 1973, starring in his own set of comic books before later joining the ever-popular Avengers.
Cretton, an Asian-American film director, grew up on Maui and lived in Ha‘iku until after his 1996 graduation from Maui High School, according to published reports. He is best known as the writer and director of Short Term 12, a short film starring Brie Larson that debuted in 2008. Cretton is currently wrapping up production on a movie called Just Mercy, which stars Michael B. Jordan (who also starred in Marvel’s Black Panther) and Jamie Foxx.
Alika Seki, owner of Maui Comics and Collectibles, said there is no greater proof of the importance of diversity and representation in comic-book movies than hearing the excitement directly from the younger fans.
“The other day I had a customer in the store that was young and Latina and her reaction to seeing Into the Spider-Verse and how much she related to Miles Morales gave me chicken skin,” Seki said. “It’s literally the point of comics – to get your audience to see themselves as the heroes; to see that heroism is not dictated by the color of your skin, but the content of your character.”
Seki said the entire Maui community is “glowing iridescently with pride” for director Cretton. “My wife grew up on the opposite side of the cane field from the Cretton family and knows how solid they all are,” he said. “Being from Maui is knowing how rich our community is with talent. It is always very validating to see Maui locals getting the national recognition they deserve.”
Image courtesy IMDB