Disney Cancels Series But It’s Not Giving Up

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Disney+ has decided to cancel its fantasy action-comedy television series American Born Chinese after just one season. Despite receiving positive reviews and boasting a talented cast, the show failed to garner sufficient viewership to justify a second outing. However, series producers are planning to shop the series to other networks.

The Perfect Blend Of Fantasy And Comedy

American Born Chinese debuted on Disney+ in May 2023. Based on Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel of the same name, the show was adapted for television by created by Kelvin Yu. The story follows the trials and tribulations of a regular American teenager Jin Wang (Ben Wang), who has a hard time fitting in with his peers.As the son of Taiwanese immigrants, Jin finds solace in collecting manga while attempting to join the soccer team. But Jin’s life changes when he befriends new exchange student Wei-Chen (Jimmy Liu), who happens to be the son of a mythological god. The contrast between Jin’s self-doubt in American Born Chinese and Wei-Chen’s openness occasionally leads to moments of embarrassment for Jin.

A Battle Of Mythical Chinese Gods

When Jin realizes that Wei-Chen is the son of Sun Wukong, the legendary Monkey King (Daniel Wu), Wei-Chen tells him about a prophetic dream he had in which an ordinary teenager is destined to aid him in finding the mythical Fourth Scroll, essential in quelling an uprising against Heaven. Wei-Chen believes that Jin is the one he’s been waiting for.With Wei-Chen, disguised as a high school student, American Born Chinese intricately weaves a tale filled with unforeseen challenges that arise when two worlds collide. Jin is eventually drawn into a battle between mythical Chinese gods, like Sun Wukong (Daniel Wu) and Guanyin (Michelle Yeoh). The eight-episode series received rave reviews from critics who described it as one of the best on Disney+.

Where American Born Chinese Went Wrong

Although the series was praised for its action sequences, cast performances, and the seamless navigation of cultural boundaries, it did have a few detractors. Fans of the novels didn’t care for how the plot differed from the source material plot and cited several inaccuracies in depicting Chinese mythological characters.

Cast And Directors Busy With Other Projects

Kelvin Yu served as the executive producer and showrunner for American Born Chinese, bringing his creative vision to life. Destin Daniel Cretton, known for his work on The Brothers Sun, directed the series and also served as an executive producer. Other key figures behind the scenes included Melvin Mar, Jake Kasdan, Gene Luen Yang, Erin O’Malley, and Asher Goldstein.The cancellation of American Born Chinese coincides with the launch of The Brothers Sun on Netflix, which also stars Michelle Yeoh. Additionally, Ke Huy Quan appeared in a prominent role in the second season of Disney+’s Marvel series Loki. Meanwhile, Cretton is developing the coming Marvel Disney+ series Wonder Man, where he serves as co-creator, director, and executive producer.

Based On A Graphic Novel

American Born Chinese

The American Born Chinese graphic novel consists of three interconnected storylines. The first story follows Jin Wang, a Chinese-American boy who struggles to fit in at school. The second is a retelling of the classic Chinese folktale, “Journey to the West,” featuring the Monkey King. The third follows Danny, an all-American high school student whose stereotypically Chinese cousin Chin-Kee comes to visit.As the narrative unfolds, the connections between these seemingly disparate stories become clear, revealing a powerful exploration of the challenges of being an Asian-American in a predominantly white society. American Born Chinese received numerous awards, including the Michael L. Printz Honor and the Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album.Source: Variety