Way back in the year 2000, the Chinese-American western Shanghai Noon graced theaters with a wacky comedy adventure starring Owen Wilson (Zoolander 2) and Jackie Chan (Kung Fu Panda 3) as the verbose ne’er-do-well, Roy O’Bannon, and the dependable Chinese Imperial Guard, Chon Wang, respectively. The original movie performed well enough at the box office to spawn the sequel Shanghai Knights in 2003, a modestly-successful followup that took the unlikely action movie duo of Chan and Wilson to Great Britain.
Keeping the relative success of the first two installments in the action-comedy franchise in mind, plans for a third film titled Shanghai Dawn have been in the works for sometime now, with returning producer Jonathan Glickman (Rush Hour) already attached. What’s more, Wilson and Chan have both expressed interest in going forward with the project, and the latest word has it that the production has finally landed a director.
According to THR, none other than Jared Hess – the director of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival hit Napoleon Dynamite, and the cult comedy hit Nacho Libre – has just been signed on to direct Shanghai Dawn. With his long-delayed studio comedy Masterminds on the way, Hess will follow up that film with the Wilson and Chan-led third Shanghai Noon installment, based on an original story created by the writers of the previous two films, Miles Millar and Alfred Gough (who will also serve as co-producers on Shanghai Dawn).
Given Hess’ noteworthy back catalogue of work on both the big and the small screen (including episodes of The Last Man on Earth and Son of Zorn), the independent film icon seems well-suited to take on a studio comedy franchise film with finesse and self-assurance. Only time will tell how well Shanghai Dawn will fare at the box office, but with any luck Wilson and Chan will prove to be up to the task of reestablishing the series in theaters around the world.
Some moviegoers are no doubt unfamiliar with (or only have hazy memories of) the ten-plus years old Shanghai Noon/Knights property by now. Those viewers who do remember seeing the first two installments may turn out to see a third film purely for the sake of nostalgia. Wilson and Chan have certainly seen their fair share of theatrical successes over the years since Knights hit theaters, and that should serve them well then they make another return to familiar characters in Shanghai Dawn.
Screen Rant will bring you more information on Shanghai Dawn as it becomes available.