Disney+ has given a straight-to-series order for “American Born Chinese,” with “Shang-Chi” director Destin Daniel Cretton attached.
Cretton will direct the series and will executive produce alongside Kelvin Yu, Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan. Yu will write and serve as showrunner. The series is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang.
“American Born Chinese” tells the story of Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his immigrant home life. When he meets a new foreign student on the first day of the school year, worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods. The show is a genre-hopping action-comedy that explores issues of identity, culture and family.
“We are delighted to continue our relationship with Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan and thrilled that Destin Daniel Cretton is set to direct,” Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, 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.”
“This has been a labor of love for Melvin Mar, and like the force of nature he is, the team he has assembled in Kelvin, Destin and Jake is as inspired and otherworldly as Gene’s beautiful graphic novel,” 20th Television President Karey Burke said. “We are so proud to be their studio and grateful to Ayo and everyone at Disney Branded Television and Disney+ for their belief in this series.”
“Gene Luen Yang’s book is a staple in American literature, and deeply important to a whole generation of readers,” executive producer and writer Kelvin Yu said. “Destin and Melvin are storytellers working at the highest level imaginable. It’s all so exciting and so humbling to be a part of.”
Cretton added: “Reading Kelvin’s riveting adaptation of Gene’s incredible novel 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.”