Marvel Studios is actively developing a Shang-Chi movie, with Wonder Woman 1984 co-writer Dave Callaham penning the script. Shang-Chi was actually originally part of the ten-movie line-up that Marvel had planned out in 2005, but fell by the wayside along with other projects, like a Hawkeye solo movie and a Power Pack movie. This will mark the first ever blockbuster Asian superhero film made by an American studio. Callaham is Chinese-American, and Marvel is reportedly seeking a director of Asian descent to helm the film.
Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, Shang-Chi is a master of martial arts who made his debut in 1973, in the pages of Special Marvel Edition #15. In the comics, Shang-Chi is the son of Fu Manchu, and was molded by his father to be a "living weapon." However, after being sent upon his first mission - to assassinate an elderly man sleeping in his bed - Shang-Chi became disillusioned about his father's supposed goodness and nobility, and ultimately turned against him.
According to Deadline, Marvel is seeking an Asian or Asian-American director for Shang-Chi, hoping to replicate the success of this year's Black Panther with "a new hero who blends Asian and Asian American themes, crafted by Asian and Asian American filmmakers." Callaham has quickly become a sought-after screenwriter for comic book movies, not only working on the script for Wonder Woman 1984, but also tapped to write the screenplay for the upcoming sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. His previous writing credits include 2014's Godzilla and The Expendables.
Because of the era in which Shang-Chi was created, the original comics contain a lot of Yellow Peril tropes and stereotypes, and the bad guys throw quite a lot of racial slurs and comments at Shang-Chi during fights. According to Deadline, the new script will "modernize the hero to avoid stereotypes that many comic characters of that era were saddled with." Marvel is likely trying to avoid a repeat of the controversy over Doctor Strange casting Tilda Swinton as Asian mentor figure the Ancient One, so it makes sense for the studio to seek out an Asian or Asian-American creative team for Shang-Chi.
At one point Marvel TV was rumored to be casting an actor in the role of Shang-Chi for Netflix's Iron Fist TV show, but nothing ever came of those rumors. Perhaps Marvel Studios already had plans to put a Shang-Chi movie back on the front-burner, and vetoed use of the character on the TV side. As mentioned above, a Shang-Chi movie was in development at Marvel Studios way back in 2005, and Marvel has been gradually getting around to making a lot of movies that were part of that original line-up - including Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and Ant-Man.
We'll keep you updated on Marvel's Shang-Chi movie as development continues.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019