Destin Daniel Cretton
Destin Daniel Cretton (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

The director of Marvel Studio’s highly anticipated Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings attended the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College from 1996 to 1998. Maui native Destin Daniel Cretton studied liberal arts there before getting his degree from a university in San Diego.

In a September 2 interview with Hawaii Public Radio, Cretton was asked how the big budget movie relates to his other, much more modest film projects.

“At its core, this movie really is a small family drama that’s wrapped in the genre of a martial arts movie and a big action superhero,” said Cretton. “And I do think one of the strengths that Marvel has in all of their movies is a concentration on character and relationships. I think that’s what they connected to in the movies that I’ve done up until this point. And it was a really was something that they constantly reminded me of, to remember to infuse into this movie as well.”

Shang-Chi’s debut on September 3, marked a significant milestone for Asian Americans in cinema. With the first Asian superhero to lead a Marvel film, Cretton, who grew up in Haʻikū, told CNN, “I could really have used a superhero like this.”

Cretton’s previous films include Just Mercy (2019), The Glass Castle (2017) and Short Term 12 (2013).