A close-up of Naruto Uzumaki's face in 'Naruto.' He looks determined.

The ‘Naruto’ Live-Action Movie Just Nabbed a Great Director

While Disney and Warner Bros. are re-calibrating their respective superhero franchises to win audiences back over, studios are capitalizing on the enduring popularity of anime with live-action remakes of the biggest properties—including Naruto, which just landed a director straight from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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According to THR, Destin Daniel Cretton, co-writer and director of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, has signed on to write and direct the live-action Naruto movie for Lionsgate. Cretton recently exited Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, which is reportedly dropping “Kang” from the title as Marvel moves on from the supervillain following Jonathan Majors’ assault conviction. In addition to Shang-Chi, Cretton wrote and directed Short Term 12, the truly incredible 2013 film starring Brie Larson and LaKeith Stanfield, and co-wrote and directed the 2019 legal drama Just Mercy, starring Michael B. Jordan.

Naruto was created by Masashi Kishimoto and was originally published as a manga, with new installments dropping weekly from 1999 to 2014. Animation studio Pierrot adapted Naruto into a hit anime series of the same name, which launched in 2002. Including Naruto: Shippuden, there are 720 episodes of Naruto in total, but it seems likely that the live-action movie will keep things simple by starting at the beginning: When we meet Naruto Uzumaki, he’s training to become a ninja in the Hidden Leaf Village. He’s an ambitious kid who dreams of becoming a Hokage, the name given to the strongest shinobi in each village.

A live-action adaptation of Naruto has been in development since 2015, when The Greatest Showman‘s Michael Gracey signed on to direct for Spider-Man producer Avi Arad. Last fall, Lionsgate hired screenwriter Tasha Huo (The Witcher: Blood Origin). With Cretton on board, it seems that the studio is really committed to finally getting this movie off the ground, and while Lionsgate hasn’t set a release date, it’s possible that we could see the live-action Naruto movie by 2026.

(featured image: Pierrot)


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Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.