When filmmakers go from project to project, there are a lot of changing variables they have to deal with. There are, of course, specific creative problems that come with telling any story, but there is also working with all kinds of new people, both on the executive side and on set. It’s partially for this reason that a lot of directors like to work with the same actors over and over again. But one side effect of this is that it leads to endless speculation. Take, for example, the collaboration between Destin Daniel Cretton and Brie Larson.
Since 2012, Cretton has directed four different features — I AM NOT A HIPSTER, SHORT TERM 12 (below), THE GLASS CASTLE and JUST MERCY — and one thing that three of those films share in common is that they feature the Academy Award®-winning actress Brie Larson. It’s the kind of pattern that makes you think that the director is prepared to work with the performer on anything that he does, and what makes that concept particularly interesting in this case is that Cretton’s next film is Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, and Larson is already a part of the MCU, playing Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel.
With this in mind, could Destin Daniel Cretton wind up finding a role for Brie Larson in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS? It’s certainly not an impossibility, as even the biggest Marvel stars regularly show up in stories that don’t feature their characters’ names in the title — and it would surely be not only a thrill for the director to reunite with a frequent collaborator, but also a huge shock for fans. That being said, it’s probably not an idea in which you should become overly invested.
Close as Cretton and Larson may be, the reality of the situation is that it wouldn’t be the easiest job in the world to find a way for the stories of Shang-Chi and Captain Marvel to cross over, as they operate in very different spheres. As we all now know courtesy of her billion-dollar hit movie earlier this year, Carol Danvers is a character very much tied to the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having spent a considerable part of her life away from Earth and personally taking on intergalactic conflicts.
The same, however, cannot be said for Shang-Chi, who will be played by Canadian actor Simu Liu. While there is some mysticism involved in his particular arena of the Marvel world, the character’s initial creation was inspired by Bruce Lee-starring kung fu movies, and he operates in stories that are far more grounded than the outer space adventures of Captain Marvel. As a result, finding a way to get the two heroes in a room together could be very difficult work, and that may be something that Destin Daniel Cretton isn't game to try if it could potentially take focus away from the story he wants to tell with SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS.
This may seem like bad news for film fans who want to see more of Destin Daniel Cretton and Brie Larson working together, but the good news is that there is still a long future ahead for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While Carol Danvers may not wind up having a role/making a cameo appearance in SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, the crossover history in the franchise makes it very easy to believe that the two heroes could eventually meet, and if Cretton sticks around past his first Marvel feature, perhaps he will eventually get to a point where he gets to film a scene featuring Larson in her Captain Marvel gear.
All of this is just speculation for now, but we’ll have firm answers soon enough, as SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS will be hitting theatres everywhere on February 12, 2021.
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