Shang-Chi’s Destin Daniel Cretton Is Tackling A Live-Action Naruto Movie, So What Does This Mean For Simu Liu’s Marvel Sequel?

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Written By Maya Cantina

In September 2021, director Destin Daniel Cretton made his first big splash in the blockbuster filming space with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which was part of the Phase Four slate of the Marvel movies in order. The Simu Liu-led superhero movie was well received, with CinemaBlend’s Shang-Chi review giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars, and by the following December, Shang-Chi 2 was announced to be in development. But there hasn’t been much news on the sequel’s progress since then, and with word now coming in that Cretton is tackling a live-action Naruto movie, what does this mean for Shang-Chi 2.

Before we talk more about that, let’s address the news that broke earlier today. Cretton is attached to write and direct Naruto for Lionsgate (which released his 2017 movie The Glass Castle), as revealed by THR. The filmmaker will also produce through his Hisako production company alongside Jeyun Mumford, and Avi Arad, Ari Arad and Emmy Yu from Brad Productions are also attached to the project. Cretton also has the full support of Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, who said the following in a statement:

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. 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 Naruto. 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.

The original Naruto manga was published between 1997 and 2014, and was later adapted across the anime shows Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden from 2002 to 2017, totaling 720 episodes. The story follows Naruto Uzumaki, a young ninja who must contend with the spirit of the Nine-Tails beast being contained within him. Following Naruto’s conclusion, the story continued with Boruto, which follows Naruto’s son and is still going on. Nine anime Naruto movies were released between 2004 and 2015, and a live-action film adaptation has been in the works since 2015, with The Greatest Showman’s Michael Gracey having been previously attached to helm it.

There wasn’t any mention about when the Naruto movie will begin filming, but Destin Daniel Cretton’s hiring has clearly sparked new life into the project, and there’s a good chance this will be what he directs next. So then where do things stand with Shang-Chi 2? Although the sequel is still on the upcoming Marvel movies slate, in July 2023, Sims Liu said that Shang-Chi 2 had been put on hold due to “circumstances” beyond his control. Then earlier this month, Liu said he had no idea what was happening with the sequel, although as far as he knew, Cretton was still attached to direct.

While it’s doubtful we’ll never see Sims Liu playing Shang-Chi in the MCU again, for now, it seems as though the character’s follow-up movie isn’t as sure of a thing was it once was. Maybe that will change if something causes Naruto to enter development hell again, but for now, I’m betting on that getting off the ground before Shang-Chi 2, as Lionsgate is clearly eager to bring this property to the big screen.

We’ll keep you apprised about how things are going with both the Naruto movie and Shang-Chi 2 as more updates trickle in. Until then, stream Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings with your Disney+ subscription, and Hulu subscribers can access both Naruto and Naruto: Shippuden.


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