Having seen what happens when it allows non-white superheroes to headline its blockbusters, Marvel Studios has made a decision to move forward (and, in fact, fast-track) its very first superhero film featuring an Asian lead: Shang-Chi, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. In the comics, Shang-Chi was raised in a secret compound to become "the master of Kung-Fu.".After becoming an agent for his father, Shang-Chi eventually realized that he was serving an evil master and turned against him.
Marvel has already assigned Chinese-American screenwriter Dave Callaham to pen the script, and is actively looking to recruit either an Asian or Asian-American director to get behind the camera for the project. Marvel is reportedly focused on delivering a powerful and authentic story, while recruiting to Asian and Asian-American directors to helm the adaptation. The film will feature the studio's first Asian protagonist.
Like Black Panther, Shang-Chi looks to be an opportunity for the studio to modernise a character that may have been a little, uh... unwoke at the time of its creation.
The film is Shang-Chi. He first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 in 1973, and quickly gained enough popularity to warrant changing that book's title to Hands of Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu only two issues later.
Callaham, who is Chinese-American, is a co-writer with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns on the upcoming Warner Bros. sequel "Wonder Woman 1984". Shang-Chi's own series, Master of Kung-Fu, lasted 125 issues and almost ten years. Marvel managed to avoid those stereotypes in Iron Man 3 with Ben Kingsley's interpretation of The Mandarin, but the studio encountered some blowback for hiring Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One in Doctor Strange a few years later.
Jessie Wade is a news writer at IGN and loves the idea to develop more diverse Marvel movies.