Disney finally released the full official trailer for its upcoming new series American Born Chinese, based on the award winning graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang. Featuring a star-studded cast, which includes newly minted Academy Award winners Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan, along with Daniel Wu, Ben Wang, Jimmy Liu and Stephanie Hsu, the series is a blend of a modern Asian American teen experience and ancient Chinese mythology. Destin Daniel Cretton, who directed Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is set to direct the series and serves Executive Producer.
The trailer is simply awesome, focusing on the two Asian American teens, played by Ben Wang and Jimmy Liu, with perfectly timed appearances by Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and Daniel Wu as Sun Wukong, also known as The Monkey King. You wouldn’t know it from the trailer, but Jimmy Liu is an accomplished martial artist, and I can’t wait to see him in action.
Ben Wang, who recently starred in another Disney project, Chang Can Dunk, is perfectly cast as the story’s main character, Jin Wang (pronounced “wong”). I recently spoke with Wang in an exclusive interview where he spoke about how special it was to work with luminaries like Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan and what he learned from them.
While one can only glean so much from a trailer, it does seem to have some significant differences from the book, which was originally published in 2006. It will be interesting to see how much of the original story is faithfully adapted, but considering Gene Luen Yang is involved in the project as Executive Producer, I have no doubt that the critical elements of the book will be present.
Back in 2019, before the book was slated to be made into a series, I had the chance to speak with Yang about American Born Chinese and why the story is still so relevant today. Yang talked about how the themes of the story are still relevant because some of the social progress has been undone. “It’s not even that so little has changed. It’s that some of the change has been unwound,” Yang said at the time. Still, he appreciated the fact that many diverse kids now are more secure in their identities. “I’ll go to these communities that are pretty diverse that have a significant Asian-American population, and these kids are born here but when they talk to each other they’ll switch back and forth between English and whatever their native tongue is,” Yang said. “The comfort level that they have with their cultural heritage feels foreign to me.”
Speaking of the original source material, Macmillan Publishers recently released a new version of the graphic novel, which includes an exclusive interview with Yang and series showrunner Kelvin Yu. It’s absolutely worth reading the book before the series comes out.
American Born Chinese premieres May 24th on Disney+!
DISNEY+ DEBUTS OFFICIAL TRAILER FOR THE ACTION-COMEDY ORIGINAL SERIES “AMERICAN BORN CHINESE”
Series Premieres with All Episodes on May 24, only on Disney+
BURBANK, Calif. (April 21, 2023) Today, Disney+ revealed the official trailer for the upcoming Original series “American Born Chinese.” The genre-hopping action-comedy series premieres with all eight episodes on May 24, only on Disney+. The Disney Branded Television series is produced by 20th Television.
Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Gene Luen Yang, “American Born Chinese” chronicles the trials and tribulations of a regular American teenager whose life is forever changed when he befriends the son of a mythological god. This is the story of a young man’s battle for his own identity, told through family, comedy, and action-packed Kung-Fu.
The coming-of-age adventure features an all-star international cast, including Academy® Award winners Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Ben Wang (“Chang Can Dunk”), International Emmy(R)Award Nominee Yeo Yann Yann (“Wet Season”), Chin Han (“Mortal Kombat”), Daniel Wu (“Reminiscence”), former Taekwondo champion Jimmy Liu and Sydney Taylor (“Just Add Magic”).
Introducing audiences to a pantheon of iconic Chinese mythical characters, are guest stars Academy® Award nominee Stephanie Hsu as Shiji Niangniang, the Goddess of Stones; Ronny Chieng as unconventional monk, Ji Gong; Jimmy O. Yang as Dragon King, Ao Guang; James Hong as Jade Emperor; Leonard Wu as Niu Mowang/Bull Demon; and Poppy Liu as Princess Iron Fan. The series also welcomes Lisa Lu as soon-to-be retired acupuncturist Ni Yang and Rosalie Chiang as student activist Suzy Nakamura.
Emmy® Award-winning writer/producer Kelvin Yu (“Bob’s Burgers,” “Central Park”) serves as executive producer and showrunner. Destin Daniel Cretton (Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” “Short Term 12”) is set to direct and serves as executive producer, alongside Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan (both of “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.,” “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” and “Jumanji: The Next Level”), Erin O’Malley (“Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.”), Asher Goldstein (“Short Term 12,” “Just Mercy”) and Gene Luen Yang.
Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture. He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.