With Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan making history at this year’s Oscars, Asian talent and stories have been getting their much-deserved time in the spotlight – and that is set to continue with the new Disney+ series American Born Chinese!
American Born Chinese tells the story of Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his 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.
Featuring a fresh take on the classic Chinese tale Journey To The West, a storyline highlighting the Asian immigrant experience, and a plethora of dazzling Asian stars (yes, including Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan), this new series is a captivating showcase of Asian stories and talent.
Not convinced? Here are 5 reasons that will get you on the American Born Chinese hype train!
Image Courtesy of Disney+
Staying true to Chinese roots - in more ways than one
Many of us are familiar with the classic Chinese tale, Journey To The West, and its beloved characters such as Sun Wu Kong, or The Monkey King. Originally published during the Ming dynasty, this epic novel has been a mainstay of Chinese culture for centuries.
American Born Chinese is a contemporary twist on the story, exploring modern themes of the Asian immigrant experience – a challenge that Gene Luen Yang, author of the graphic novel that this series is based on, has experienced himself as a child of Chinese immigrants. Legend and real-world experiences intertwine in this tale, and we can’t wait to see it all!
A coming-of-age classic for a new generation
At its heart, Journey To The West was about The Monkey King finding and accepting himself. Similarly, in American Born Chinese, main character Ben Wang struggles to find a sense of belonging as the child of Asian immigrants in the United States.
By blending two worlds together, this series explores relatable issues of identity and self-acceptance in an exciting way that’s sure to appeal to a new generation who may not be familiar with the original Chinese story.
Everything Asian all at once - including a Singapore star
While Asian-centric series and movies are becoming more commonplace, it’s still a thrill to see our screens lit up with wall-to-wall Asian talent, especially as Asians ourselves. This series is full of veteran actors such as Michelle Yeoh, Key Huy Quan and James Hong and talented younger performers like series lead Ben Wang, Stephanie Hsu and Jimmy O. Yang.
Bonus: Chin Han and Yeo Yann Yann also star in the series, familiar names from Singapore’s acting scene! But it’s not just the stars: behind the camera lies a wealth of Asian talent, with directors Lucy Liu and Daniel Destin Cretton and producers Gene Luen Yang, Kelvin Yu and Melvin Mar rounding off this team of Asian brilliance.
Image Courtesy of Disney+
A veritable feast of Chinese legends and deities
We’ve already been treated to the stunning sight of Guan Yin and the Monkey King’s costumes in the trailer, created by world-renowned fashion designers Philip Lim and Prabal Gurung, but that’s just two characters - and there are so much more!
With names like Nine-tailed Fox, Princess Iron Fan, Dragon King and Niu Mowang aka Bull Demon King, we already know this series is going to be an amazing visual spectacle!
Fight scenes to satisfy any action enthusiast
If you’re like us and you were a fan of the incredible nail-biting fight scenes in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (that bus scene, anyone?!), then we’ve got news for you. Director Daniel Destin Cretton is back at it again with American Born Chinese!
With him at the helm, Michelle Yeoh and Daniel Wu’s years of martial arts movie skills and Ke Huy Quan’s background as a stunt choreographer, you already know the fight scenes in this series are going to be spectacular.
American Born Chinese streams exclusively on Disney+ from 24 May onwards!
If you haven't seen the trailer yet, here it is: