It took the Marvel Cinematic Universe a while to settle on its approach to choosing a director, but the franchise has long since found a groove that typically sees rising talents plucked from the independent world and thrown in at the deep end on a mega budget comic book blockbuster, and you have to say the track record has been pretty good so far.
After Jon Favreau helmed 2010’s Iron Man 2, it would be another six years and nine movies before a different filmmaker tackled their second MCU project, which came when Joe and Anthony Russo followed up Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Civil War. Since then, the Russo brothers, James Gunn, Peyton Reed, Taika Waititi, Jon Watts and Ryan Coogler have all returned to the fold, with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ Destin Daniel Cretton admitting it was the latter who convinced him to board the upcoming martial arts epic in the first place.
Cretton only has a handful of small scale credits under his belt so far including Brie Larson’s Short Term 12 and legal drama Just Mercy, with the 42 year-old revealing in a new interview that he wasn’t entirely sold on the idea of jumping into something as daunting as the MCU until he got some encouragement from Coogler.
“I was really scared of stepping into a big studio movie like this and scared of what it might do to me. I had a lot of fears, and the thing that Ryan said to me, which really eased my mind was, ‘The pressure is hard, it’ll be the hardest thing potentially that you have done up to this point. But none of that pressure or none of those complications come from the people that you’re working with, or for’.”
That’s pretty good advice from the Black Panther director, who was only 29 when he was first handed the reins to bring Wakanda to life, before steering the cultural phenomenon to over $1.3 billion at the box office and an Academy Award for Best Picture. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been drawing hugely positive early reactions, so it looks as though Cretton definitely made the right call.