Shang-Chi 2 Canceled? Destin Daniel Cretton Directing Naruto

Things at Marvel are a mess. Has the director ended his exclusive deal?

Things at Marvel are a mess. Has the director ended his exclusive deal?

shang chi 2 canceled destin daniel cretton naruto


  • Destin Daniel Cretton is directing and producing a live-action adaptation of Naruto for Lionsgate
  • Cretton previously signed an exclusive deal with Disney, Marvel, and Hulu but has exited projects such as Avengers: The Kang Dynasty to focus on Naruto
  • The creator of Naruto and Lionsgate are both excited to have Cretton on board

So much for Shang-Chi 2 as it is announced Destin Daniel Cretton is directing and producing the live-action adaptation of Naruto as he is back with Lionsgate.

Recall that Destin Daniel Cretton signed “an exclusive multi-year overall deal” with Disney, Marvel and Hulu to develop and produce new projects back in 2021, months after the first Shang-Chi was released.

At the time it was also said Cretton was working on Shang-Chi 2 and that the sequel is happening. 

Well, here we are years later and Shang-Chi 2 doesn’t have an official release date.

simu liu shang chi marvel

Disney+ and Marvel bombs

Destin Daniel Cretton also bailed on directing Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and only has the Wonder Man project in the works at Marvel which, similar to all the other MCU shows on Disney+, is rumored to have all kinds of problems. Recently saw that unfortunate accident on set cause the death of a rigger which is now under investigation.

At the time of his exit from Avengers: The Kang Dynasty the reason was said so he could focus on Wonder Man and Shang-Chi 2. Well, again, hello Naruto, which sounds like it’s happening soon (more below).

Cretton also directed and produced the one-and-done American Born Chinese Disney+ series that was canceled after one season as part of his exclusive Disney deal.

The Naruto news also follows Disney CEO Bob Iger announcing Disney is pulling back on Marvel and that Marvel Studios has lost focus.

The first Shang-Chi only made $432 million at the box office on a reported budget of $150-$200 million, so that’s another huge bust for Kevin Feige. It could be possible that Iger is putting the kibosh on Shang-Chi 2, or if not, it looks to be a ways off, or who knows, maybe it will get a new director.

So doing the math:

  • Shang-Chi bombs
  • Destin Daniel Cretton signs exclusive Disney deal
  • American Born Chinese bombs and gets canceled after a season
  • Destin Daniel Cretton exists Avengers: The Kang Dynasty
  • Wonder Man still happening, apparently, amid major problems with Marvel TV
  • Signs on with Lionsgate on Naruto

Lionsgate and Masashi Kishimoto super excited

Regarding the Naruto movie, the creator of the popular manga, Masashi Kishimoto, is super excited to have Destin Daniel Cretton on board as is Lionsgate. Cretton was previously at Lionsgate on the The Glass Castle, the 2017 drama he directed that starred fellow Marvel alum Brie Larson. 

What that says for Cretton’s “exclusive deal” with Disney and Marvel, I’m not sure, but it sounds like it expired.

“When I heard of Destin’s attachment, it happened to be right after watching a blockbuster action film of his, and I thought he would be the perfect director for Naruto,” said Masashi Kishimoto in a statement. “After enjoying his other films and understanding that his forte is in creating solid dramas about people, I became convinced that there is no other director for Naturo. In actually meeting Destin, I also found him to be an open-minded director who was willing to embrace my input, and felt strongly that we would be able to cooperate together in the production process.”

THR points out that Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chair Adam Fogelson enthusiastically said in a statement, “This manga classic is beloved by millions of fans all around the world, and Destin has delivered a vision for the movie that we believe will excite that massive fan base as well as those who are new to it. Avi and I have had the pleasure of working together before and I know that as we collaborate with Destin and the team on Naruto, we are in extraordinary hands.”

I’ll also add it will be interesting to see what Destin Daniel Cretton does with Naruto.

I know from talking with my Asian friends that they all hated Shang-Chi, which seems to be evident by the fact that among the three MCU movies released in 2021 with Shang-Chi, Black Widow, and Eternals, that Shang-Chi had the lowest box office in South Korea while the film had the highest worldwide box office of the three. My friends didn’t like how Simu Liu’s titular character is a slacker with no girlfriend. I also recall the Chinese being upset with the casting of Simu Liu as the titular character instead of Tony Leung Chiu-wai.

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