SAN DIEGO – Marvel has found its leader for “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” in Destin Daniel Cretton, the director of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and a graduate of Point Loma Nazarene University and San Diego State University.
According to a rep who confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, Cretton will direct Marvel’s next big “Avengers” film, which was just announced at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. During the Marvel Studios presentation in Hall H, president Kevin Feige confirmed that Phase 6, taking place in 2024 and 2025, will conclude with two new “Avengers” movies, “The Kang Dynasty” and “Secret Wars.”
Cretton, a 2001 graduate of PLNU and a 2011 alum of SDSU, was responsible for one of Marvel’s most successful films of Phase 4, “Shang-Chi,” which grossed more than $430 million at the box office in 2021.
The filmmaker spoke with San Diego State University’s magazine just ahead of the movie’s release last year, discussing the importance of the introduction of the MCU’s first Asian American superhero, and how he came to the project.
“I saw the announcement that Marvel made — that they’re doing their first Asian American superhero — and I had an unexpected emotional reaction,” Cretton told SDSU Magazine writer Lisa Haney. “It honestly wasn’t something that I had really processed much until that point: That there was a vacuum in my brain and in my childhood that I never really thought about — that I never had a reflection of myself on screen in the form of a superhero.”
The director is also known for his continued work with Brie Larson, who starred in his first feature film, “Short Term 12,” inspired by his time working in a foster care facility in San Diego. Larson then went on to star in his adaptations of Jeannette Walls’ “The Glass Castle and Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy.” Larson is also currently starring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, and will next be seen in the summer 2022 film “The Marvels.” It’s unclear if the duo will reunite once again in the 2025 “Avengers” movie.
On his time at SDSU, Cretton said that he learned about the “power of exploration” while working on shorts and documentaries, and the importance of holding on to that mentality, even when directing a blockbuster film for a massive studio.
“And it’s a difficult one to hold on to in the industry once money is involved, because the exploration is connected to taking big risks, to trying things you haven’t tried before,” Cretton said. “Trying to look at a subject or using the camera in ways that might be a little more unexpected. It’s a mentality that I tried to remind myself that I have to keep going back to, as I’m making movies.”
The “Just Mercy” director also said at the time that he didn’t see himself directing a big-budget film like “Shang-Chi” because he saw himself as more of an independent filmmaker, despite growing up on only bigger films in Hawaii.
“That wasn’t a life goal by any means. I grew up on big Spielberg blockbusters — really the only type of movies that made it into the theaters on Maui. I was introduced to independent cinema when I went off to college in San Diego, and that’s where I thought I would always stay in terms of the types of movies I’d be exploring. But this has been a big change and it’s been really fun,” he said.
In addition to the new role with the upcoming “Avengers” film, Cretton is confirmed to direct an untitled sequel to “Shang-Chi” which is expected to release at some point in the MCU’s Phase 5. The filmmaker is also in development for Marvel on a “Wonder Man” series alongside “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “Community” writer Andrew Guest.
“Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” is slated to release on May 2, 2025.