Having seen what happens when it allows non-white superheroes to headline its blockbusters, Marvel Studios has decided 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.
The film will be written by Chinese-American scribe Dave Callaham (who also co-write Wonder Woman 1984, in addition to creating and producing Amazon's Jean-Claude Van Johnson), and Marvel is currently looking at various Asian and Asian-American filmmakers who might be interested in directing.
Shang-Chi is, admittedly, an obscure Marvel character, one this writer was entirely unfamiliar with prior to today's news. Here's how Deadline's describing him:
"In the comics, Shang-Chi is the son of China-based globalist who raised and educated his progeny in his reclusive China compound, closed off to the outside world. The son trained in the martial arts and developed unsurpassed skills. He is eventually introduced to the outside world to do his father’s bidding, and then has to come to grips with the fact his revered father might not be the humanitarian he has claimed to be and is closer to what others call him: The Devil’s Doctor. He also might be centuries old. The deceit makes them bitter enemies."
Deadline's report goes on to specify that Callaham's screenplay will modernize the character, a move designed to "avoid stereotypes that many comic characters of that era were saddled with." Given some of the missteps Marvel's made in this arena in the past (*coughTheAncientOnecough*), that's probably wise.
Anyway, this is all very exciting news, and we're very curious to see how Shang-Chi will fit in with the rest of the already-established MCU (and, indeed, what role the character will play there following the events of the forthcoming sequel to Avengers: Infinity War).
Stay tuned for further updates on Shang-Chi as they become available. While we're waiting on those to roll in: who would you like to see play Shang-Chi? Who would you like to see direct? Sound off in the comments below.