After what felt like years of waiting for representation, Marvel Studios' first Asian-lead film — Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — has officially hit theaters!
Out got the chance to chat with Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton (who helmed 2019's Just Mercy) about crafting the film, the pressure he felt from bringing a story that will mean so much to so many viewers and fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, working with actors Awkwafina and Simu Liu on their characters' platonic friendship, and more!
"I think it's really cool that the most successful studio in Hollywood has made it one of their greatest goals to continue to tell stories that reflect the ethnic background of their fans," Cretton told Out when asked about being a part of a slow-but-sure tide of new, diverse stories and perspectives coming from Marvel Studios.
Earlier this year, Marvel's original Disney+ series Loki confirmed the beloved antihero (portrayed famously by British actor Tom Hiddleston) is canonically bisexual, and later this year, the MCU is reportedly set to introduce the first gay superhero in its lineup via Phastos (played by Atlanta star Brian Tyree Henry) in the ensemble cast of The Eternals. The MCU has also become more racially and gender inclusive, with titles like 2018's Black Panther and 2019's Captain Marvel having been huge hits with superhero fans.
"It is something that I hope other studios and other producers in the industry see, that that is the wave of the future," he continued. "If we're going to continue to thrive as an industry, we need to tell stories that reflect the people around us."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing in theaters!