Kevin Feige has responded to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu’s outrage, sparked by the actor’s own misreading of Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s recent comment that the upcoming Marvel film will be an ‘interesting experiment’, clarifying that this nontroversy was, indeed, the result of “a misunderstanding”.
Addressing Liu’s tweet at a media presser held during Shang-Chi’s August 16th premiere, Feige asserted, “He is not a shy man. I think in that particular tweet you can see — and I think everyone does — a misunderstanding.”
“It was not the intention,” Feige further explained. “The proof is in the movie, and we swing for the fences as we always do. With the amount of creative energy we put in and the budget, there’s no expense spared to bring this origin story to the screen.”
Chapek’s original comment on the upcoming entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe was made on August 12th during The Walt Disney Company’s Q3 FY21 Earnings Results Webcast.
Asked why the company chose not to either further delay the release of or extend streaming access to their “near-term theatrical releases” in the face of “the steep fall off in second week box, rise of the Delta variant, [and] international markets still unopened,” Chapek replied, “at some point, you’ve got to put a stake in the ground and say, this is what we’re going to do and that’s where we ended up on Shang-Chi and Free Guy, which are our next two titles out.”
“On Shang-Chi, we think it’s actually going to be an interesting experiment for us because it’s got only a 45-day window for us,” he added. “So the prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to service after going theatrical with 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles.”
“When we planned Shang-Chi – that title was planned on being [released] in a much more healthy theatrical environment.” he concluded. “And at this point, unfortunately, due to distribution agreements that we have and due to just the practicalities of last-minute changes, it wouldn’t be possible.”
Believing that the Disney CEO considered the film to be an “interesting experiment” due to its primarily Asian cast, Liu took to Twitter on August 14th to fire back, “We are not an experiment.”
“We are the underdog; the underestimated,” he continued. “We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year.”
He concluded, “We are the surprise. I’m fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US.”
Speaking to the film’s majority Asian cast, Feige compared Shang-Chi to Black Panther, asserting that they were both victories for global representation.
“When you have the opportunity to showcase a hero that looks like a huge segment of the globe that feels like they haven’t been showcased, the magic can happen if you deliver,” said Feige. “I think Destin [Daniel Cretton] and Simu have delivered for this movie.”
Feige also praised Liu specifically, noting that he noticed the actor’s ‘superhero quality’ after “a lot of reads, a lot of auditions.”
“There’s no magic formula,” he continued. “It’s a feeling. It’s a sense of both the ability to be relatable and grounded and, at the same time, take your place in that pantheon of heroes should everything go so well in an origin story they will end up with the other pandemic heroes.”
In conclusion to his comments on Liu’s tweet, the producer spoke to the actor’s forthcoming Marvel future, stating, “There is a direct line of where he heads to next.”
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