SHANG-CHI Director Destin Daniel Cretton Will Helm Lionsgate’s Live-Action NARUTO Movie

Although there has long been talk of a live-action Naruto film, the announcement that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton has joined the production feels like a significant step toward the project’s actual realization.

The Hollywood Reporter states that Cretton will be writing the screenplay for the Lionsgate-set movie in addition to directing it.  Tasha Huo wrote a previous draft of the script.

At one point, Cretton was in line to direct Avengers 5, back when the pic was still subtitled The Kang Dynasty. He’s since departed the project but is still attached to direct a Shang-Chi sequel. 

Currently, Cretton is working on another MCU project, the Disney+ Wonder Man series, which stars Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’s Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.  Cretton is spearheading development on the 10-episode Marvel Spotlight series alongside  Andrew Guest (Hawkeye). It’s thought that Cretton will also direct several episodes.

Principal photography on Wonder Man began on  April 5, 2023, but was halted over the summer by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Filming resumed in January and seemingly remains ongoing although the production was marred by the tragedy of a rigger falling to their death earlier this month.

The release dates for the Naruto movie and the Shang-Chi sequel are both unknown at this point, so it’s unclear which one Cretton will tackle first after Wonder Man.

In a press release, Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto gave his blessing for the project. “When I heard of Destin’s attachment, it happened to be right after watching a blockbuster action film of his, and I thought he would be the perfect director for Naruto. After enjoying his other films and understanding that his forte is in creating solid dramas about people, I became convinced that there is no other director for Naturo. In actually meeting Destin, I also found him to be an open-minded director who was willing to embrace my input, and felt strongly that we would be able to cooperate together in the production process.

First published in 1999 in the pages of Weekly Shonen Jump, Kishimoto wrapped up his fan-favorite series in 2014 after 72 volumes that collect 700 individual chapters (think comic book issues).

A successful anime adaptation was launched by Studio Pierrot in 2002.

After concluding the original manga, a sequel series following Naruto’s son, titled Boruto: Naruto Next Generations was launched in 2016 by the assistants who worked on Naruto with Kishimoto. However, Kishimoto would eventually take over the sequel in 2020 amid declining sales.

Currently, the original Naruto manga is the 6th best-selling manga title of all-time with over 250 million volumes sold worldwide.

Are you excited by the prospect of a Western, live-action Naruto movie? Let us know in the comment section below.

Naruto Vol. 1 Synopsis:
The world’s most popular ninja comic!

Naruto is a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He’s got a wild sense of humor, but Naruto is completely serious about his mission to be the world’s greatest ninja!

Twelve years ago the Village Hidden in the Leaves was attacked by a fearsome threat. A nine-tailed fox spirit claimed the life of the village leader, the Hokage, and many others. Today, the village is at peace and a troublemaking kid named Naruto is struggling to graduate from Ninja Academy. His goal may be to become the next Hokage, but his true destiny will be much more complicated. The adventure begins now!