Destin Daniel Cretton is no longer directing “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty,” TheWrap has learned. While he will not helm the next big MCU team-up flick, he remains at work on the Disney+ series “Wonder Man.” And fear not, he’s also still developing a sequel to “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
The move comes days after Marvel and the Walt Disney Company take stock of the poor performance of “The Marvels,” which earned just $110 million in its global debut amid mixed reviews and comparatively indifferent word-of-mouth.
The Brie Larson-fronted superhero sequel was not Marvel Studios’ first underperformer amid the 33-film, 15.5-year franchise. Heck, “The Incredible Hulk” earned $265 million on a $150 million budget a month after “Iron Man” launched the MCU in the summer of 2008. However, the release comes on the heels of comparatively underperforming titles like “Eternals” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” along with softer-than-usual reviews for those films along with “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was a bright spot for the post-“Avengers: Endgame” MCU. It earned strong reviews and legged to $225 million domestically from a $94 million Labor Day weekend launch in 2021. It earned $435 million worldwide on a $150 million budget and accrued strong buzz. The late-summer smash seemingly positioned Simu Liu’s master of kung fu as a new marquee superhero for the company.
Cretton’s exit comes as Marvel reportedly debates whether to pivot away from making Kang into the next “big bad” amid poor responses to the third “Ant-Man” movie and Jonathan Majors’ arrest for domestic violence earlier this year. It is not yet known if any pivots will occur, nor if the exit has anything to do with a change of direction. However, the director of “Short Term 12” and “Just Mercy” is at least as qualified to handle an “Avengers vs. Dr. Doom” movie as he would have been to helm an “Avengers vs. Kang” epic.
As of now, “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” remains set for theatrical release on May 1, 2026. “Avengers: Secret Wars,” set for May 7, 2027, will close the book on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Six and the entire so-called “Multiverse Saga.”