It seems Disney+ is interested in more than just superhero comic book adaptations.
The streaming service announced Monday a straight-to-series order for American Born Chinese. Based on the graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang, the program will be a “a genre-hopping action-comedy series” with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton on board as a director and executive producer. The comic centers on Jin Wang, an “average teenager juggling his high school social life with his immigrant home life.” But with the arrival of a new, foreign student, Jin becomes entangled in a battle of “Chinese mythological gods.”
Writers/executive producers Kelvin Yu and Charles Yu — and executive producers Melvin Mar, Jake Kasdan and Asher Goldstein — are also attached. Yang will also serve as an executive producer with Kelvin Yu serving as showrunner.
In a statement, Disney Branded Television president Ayo Davis said, “The team are visionaries in bringing character-driven adventures to life, and we cannot wait for our audience to experience this fantastically memorable and imaginative adaptation of the graphic novel. This is a great universal story that moves between worlds and explores the impact of culture, identity, and acceptance through the lens of adolescence.”
Yang added, “I feel so lucky to be working with this team. 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. And Destin Cretton … who in America isn’t a fan of Destin Cretton right now? I can’t wait for him to bring his signature blend of action and heart to the show. When I was in high school, I was such a big Disney fan that I had at least one Mickey Mouse item on me at all times: a wallet, a watch, a belt buckle, a t-shirt, something. Being a part of Disney+ is a dream come true.”
It is unclear how quickly the program will arrive on Disney+, but the service is fairly swift with moving series into production. The announcement is also a sea-change from a few years back, when Disney was cancelling 20th Century Fox productions like Mouse Guard as it seemingly interfered with Marvel Studios’ plans for comic-book-based entertainment. Now, it seems Marvel need not be the only focus. Almost makes you wonder if there’s a way to put Mouse Guard back on track. Although, in that case, the studio shuttered alongside the project.
In any event, we look forward to seeing American Born Chinese in the not-too-distant future.