Photo Credit: Disney/Marvel Studios
Marvel is getting its first Asian superhero. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced that a standalone Shang-Chi movie — called Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — would be part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The release date is February 12, 2021. Simu Liu, Awkwafina, and Tony Leung will star in the Shang-Chi movie, which will be directed by Japanese-American filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), off a script by Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984).
In the Marvel comics, Shang-Chi — created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin in 1973 — is born in China to a Chinese father and an American mother. He is trained as a martial arts assassin by his father but eventually rebels and turns into a hero who is often referred to as the “Master of Kung Fu”. The character was created in December 1973, around the time martial arts films became popular in the West. Callaham is said to modernise the outdated and stereotypical aspects of the character that were prevalent in that era, while Marvel Studios is looking to assemble a cast full of Asian-Americans and Asians, hoping to emulate the success of Black Panther.
The MCU hasn't made a lot of space for Asian superheroes on the big screen, with Dave Bautista (Drax in Guardians of the Galaxy), Benedict Wong (Wong in Doctor Strange), Pom Klementieff (Mantis in Guardians of the Galaxy), and Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva in Captain Marvel) being the only ones so far — all side-kicks or supporting characters. With Shang-Chi, Marvel is set to change that for the better.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will release February 12, 2021 in India and across the world.