Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently sat down with the New York Film Academy for an in depth interview covering a range of topics including the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings film.
During the Q&A part of the discussion, Feige was asked what his process was for choosing new characters to be introduced into the MCU and how it affects the future storylines and phases of the MCU.
In a lengthy answer that mostly centered around Captain America: Civil War and many of the unknowns leading into that film including Robert Downey Jr.’s contract as well as the role of Spider-Man, Feige touched on the upcoming Shang-Chi film.
“It was during those conversations that Nate said, ‘What about Black Panther? What about bringing T’Challa into this Civil War as a third party who didn’t have an allegiance to either side? Who had his own issue.’ And if we don’t have Spider-Man and god forbid if we didn’t get Robert there’d be another element, a new fresh element to make the movie worthwhile. We ended up getting it all and it ended up being great. But it can vary.”
He then touched on Shang-Chi:
“Like Shang-Chi, we’ve wanted to make that movie for a long time. We wanted to make a movie with a 98% Asian cast. And then you talk about as you develop the movie what other heroes you can bring into it if you need them.”
Feige’s comments come after director Destin Daniel Cretton spoke about the casting of Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as The Mandarin.
Cretton told The Observer:
“It’s really exciting to me to be able to fill a movie like that with a bunch of Asian faces and be able to see of sides of these character than what we have seen before.”
“Growing up, I didn’t have a super hero that looked like me and it’s really exciting to give a new generation something I did not have. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Crettin then specifically addressed Leung’s casting:
“I think [Leung] brings a humanity that we need for that character. We are not looking to contribute anymore to the Asian stereotypes that we have seen both in cinema and pop culture. We’re hoping to just show some different sides to both Asian-Americans and Chinese-Americans and Mainland Chinese characters. Tommy is such an incredible actor and I’m excited to have him help us break some of those stereotypes because that villain could easily become a punchline.”
Shang-Chi first made his debut in Special Marvel Edition #15 in 1973. The character was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.
The Marvel hero is a skilled martial artist, who is commonly referred to as the Master of Kung Fu. However, he is also proficient in a number of martial arts and weaponry including wushu and nunchaku.
In the comics, he was trained by his father Fu Manchu. However, as he gets older he realizes his father is an immortal sorcerer and crime lord bent on world domination.
After discovering his father’s evil, Shang-Chi vows to bring down his father’s criminal empire using the martial arts skills that he was taught from the immortal sorcerer.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is expected to release February 12th, 2021. The movie stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi and will also star Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as The Mandarin and Awkwafina in a yet to be announced role.