We are only three months into the new year, and Disney+ has not taken any content breaks. While the majority of the Disney+ news cycle has covered Marvel Studios and Star Wars, the streaming platform has recently added Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese to the roster of releases.
Disney+ confirmed the adaptation series in October 2021, with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton attached to the project as director and executive producer. Kelvin Yu (Master of None) is also involved as an executive producer, and will serve as the streaming series’ showrunner.
“Reading Kelvin’s riveting adaptation of Gene’s incredible novel had me laughing and crying and jumping out of my chair on every page” said Cretton when the series was announced. “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.”
Producer Melvin Mar shared a photo on Instagram of the cast and crew celebrating the first day of shooting with a blessing ceremony. Pictured are Michelle Yeoh, Destin Daniel Cretton, Kelvin Yu, author Gene Luen Yang, and series star Ben Wang, who will portray the lead character Jin Wang.
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Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese has won several awards since its publication, including the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature in 2006, and the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album. Yang has gone on to write other projects like Boxers and Saints (a two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion), multiple volumes of Avatar: The Last Airbender comics and the miniseries Superman Smashes the Klan.
The award-winning graphic novel follows the life of Jin Wang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, and his struggle to assimilate into an American high school. When he meets a strange foreign exchange student, Jin finds himself “unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods,” in an “action-packed coming-of-age adventure,” that “explores identity, culture, and family.”
American Born Chinese has been a graphic novel staple for many Asian Americans because of its exploration of identity, assimilation, and racial stereotypes. American Born Chinese has yet to receive a release date on Disney+.
Photo via Square Fish