Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige recently declared that the popularity of a comic book or comic book character has not been a factor in the film’s movie and TV adaptations.
In an interview with Men’s Health, Feige spoke about the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings film.
During the interview, Feige referenced the X-Men and Blade films when he stated, “That sort of proved early on that it wasn’t about how famous the character was, but about how great their potential was for becoming a cool movie, or series of movie.”
He added, “And Shang-Chi has had that potential for so long.”
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According to Men’s Health writer Evan Romano, Feige also explained the reason why Shang-Chi did not show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe despite being on their list for a long time is because “there was limited space to fit in characters needed during the lead-up to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.”
Feige stated, “Once we finished what we call now The Infinity Saga, we rolled up our sleeves and said, ‘OK, what’s next?’ What are we going to kick off the next?”
“The next sort of evolution of the MCU post- our first big saga, and that’s why Shang-Chi was at the very top of that list,” he said.
Not only that, but Romano adds, “And because Shang-Chi is a fairly obscure character, the studio can rewrite and modernize his story in ways that would be far less noticeable than updating more widely known stories like those of Captain America, Spider-Man, or The Incredible Hulk.”
Feige would also indicate Shang-Chi received top billing because he appeals to China. He states, “It’s about having a foot in both worlds. In the North American world and in China. And Simu fits that quite well.”
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Source: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsFeige’s comments are interesting because they are in direct contrast to what he said about Eternals.
Related: Eternals: Marvel Boss Kevin Feige Addresses Race And Gender Swapping, Claims Sersi, Not Ikaris, Is Lead
Speaking with Variety at the end of April, Feige addressed the race and gender swaps in the upcoming film and revealed that diversity in the film is the reason it was placed at the top of Marvel’s priority list.
Feige clearly stated, “Well, the notion of switching up the genders, sexualities and ethnicities of the characters from the comics, was baked in initially — that was part of what Nate Moore was really advocating for in moving “Eternals” to the top of the list for us to start working on.”
As for Feige’s idea that they don’t take the popularity of characters into consideration, one has to wonder about the validity of that. The first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe featured all of the original Avengers characters and some of Marvel’s biggest hitters in Captain America, Thor, and Hulk.
They continued with those characters through Phase 2 although they did add in Guardians of the Galaxy, which was more of an obscure team in the comics. They also introduced Ant-Man, but he was a long-time Avenger in the comics.
In Phase 3, they continued with Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. They went on to introduce Spider-Man, who is Marvel’s most popular character, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange.
Most of the characters introduced and featured throughout Marvel’s Infinity Saga were some of their most popular characters outside of the X-Men, which they did not have access to at the time.
However the Phase 4 announcements do indeed confirm they are not taking popularity into account.
They will be introducing Jane Foster Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder, are creating a Ms. Marvel TV series, and a Hawkeye series based on Kate Bishop. On top of that they are debuting the Shang-Chi and The Eternals movies.
What do you make of Feige’s comments? Do you believe him?