Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton has found a new comic to adapt for Disney—but it’s not a Marvel property. The studio announced that it’s given a direct to series order for an adaptation of American Born Chinese, a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, with Cretton serving as director and producer.
The graphic novel was published back in 2006, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and earned both the Eisner Award and Michael L. Printz Award. The book is broken into three tales: a boy named Jin Wang who moves to a new school where he’s the only Chinese-American, an interpretation on the Monkey King folk tale, and a story about a boy named Danny and his cousin Chin-Kee, who seems to be a personification of American negative stereotypes of Chinese people. These tales eventually intersect to reveal an interconnected story at their center.
The series will be written by Kelvin Yu (Bob’s Burgers) and Charles Yu (Interior Chinatown, Westworld), with Kelvin Yu serving as showrunner. The series will also feature Yang, Melvin Mar, and Jake Kasdan (Fresh off the Boat, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jumanji: The Next Level), and Asher Goldstein (Just Mercy) as executive producers.
Disney describes the story as following Jin Wang as he goes to a new school, and unwittingly gets involved in a”battle of Chinese mythological gods,” saying it will be a ” genre-hopping action-comedy that explores issues of identity, culture, and family.”
In a statement, Cretton noted that the book “had me laughing and crying and jumping out of my chair on every page”:
I feel deeply connected to the characters in this story and the brilliant team bringing it to life. This show is going to be unlike anything we’ve experienced on TV, and I can’t wait for the world to see what we’re cooking up.
I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!! I can't believe I get to work with such an amazingly talented team! https://t.co/3F2hYUyYN7
— Gene Luen Yang (@geneluenyang) October 4, 2021
In his own statement, Yang noted that he’s excited about the project: “Melvin Mar is a man with a vision, and I’m deeply grateful that he took this project under his wing. Kelvin Yu is a phenomenal talent. His script brings to television everything I wanted to get across in my book.” He added, “I can’t wait for [Cretton] to bring his signature blend of action and heart to the show.”
There’s no word on casting or when the series will debut.