Streamer Disney+ has greenlit what is described as a genre-hopping action-comedy series, based on the graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang. The Disney Branded Television series is produced by 20th Television. Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Short Term 12”) is set to direct and executive-produce.
The logline: “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, even more 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.
Written and executive-produced by Kelvin Yu (“Bob’s Burgers”) and Charles Yu (“Legion,” “Westworld”), “American Born Chinese” is also executive-produced by Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan (both of “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” for Disney+, “Fresh Off the Boat” for ABC, and “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Jumanji: The Next Level” feature films). Asher Goldstein (“Short Term 12,” “Just Mercy”) and Gene Luen Yang are also executive producers. Kelvin Yu serves as showrunner.
“We are delighted to continue our relationship with Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan and thrilled that Destin Daniel Cretton is set to direct,” said Ayo Davis, president, Disney Branded Television. “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.”
Added 20th Television President Karey Burke, “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. 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.”
Commented executive producer and writer Kelvin Yu, “Gene Luen Yang’s book is a staple in American literature, and deeply important to a whole generation of readers. Destin and Melvin are storytellers working at the highest level imaginable. It’s all so exciting and so humbling to be a part of.”
Director and executive producer Destin Daniel Cretton said, “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.”
Remarked Gene Luen Yang, who created the graphic novel, “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.