Marvel is on a roll with an inclusion initiative for its cinematic universe. Following the humongous success of Black Panther and Captain Marvel, the studio is ready to put the Asian superhero movie Shang-Chi into production. We’d heard a few months ago that Marvel was fast-tracking the project, and now the important pieces are coming into place.
First up is the news, courtesy of Deadline, that Marvel has chosen a director for the movie. And they’ve gone inclusive with the hire, too, deciding on Destin Daniel Cretton following a search for the right Asian-American filmmaker for the gig. Next, the studio will aim to populate the cast with Asian talent. Learn more about Cretton and the movie he’ll be helming below.
Here’s everything we know about Marvel Studios’s Shang-Chi:
Who is Shang-Chi?
The Marvel Comics character Shang-Chi, who originally debuted on the page in 1973, is a Chinese superhero trained in martial arts who also eventually has the power of duplication courtesy of cosmic radiation. Known as the “master of kung-fu,” he is also the son of a criminal mastermind super villain, who becomes one of his biggest foes, and has been a member of the Avengers. You can find more on the character and his comics history at Marvel.
Who is playing Shang-Chi?
Casting has not been announced yet for any roles in the Shang-Chi movie. Marvel plans to fill the main cast with Asian-American talent.
What is the plot of the Shang-Chi movie?
The plot for Shang-Chi has not been revealed yet, and it’s unclear what elements from the character’s long history will be involved, save for the obvious goal to avoid any stereotypes found in the comics back in the early days of his appearances. Presumably, the movie will deal with his origin as a kung-fu master who has to turn on his father when he discovers the (very) old man to be a bad guy. The duplication powers may not come into play (yet).
How long has Shang-Chi been in the works?
While some of the coverage of the Shang-Chi movie make it sound like Marvel chose to do this after the success of Black Panther, the character was actually on a slate of heroes planned for Marvel Studios productions back when the company teamed up with Paramount for the release of such movies as Iron Man, Captain America and Thor — that was in 2006 before Disney owned Marvel and took over the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Prior to the news in December 2018 that Marvel was fast-tracking the project, a Shang-Chi movie titled The Hands of Shang-Chi had been set up by Marvel Studios at DreamWorks with Ang Lee producing and legendary stunts choreographer Woo-ping Yeun directing. Clearly, that project has been scrapped and/or evolved into the current plans.
Who is directing Shang-Chi now?
Deadline reported that the movie will be helmed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who has directed Captain Marvel star Brie Larson in the indie breakout Short Term 12 (based on his own short), 2017’s The Glass Castle and the upcoming drama Just Mercy, which also features Black Panther villain Michael B. Jordan.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cretton was chosen from a shortlist of Asian filmmakers including Alan Yang (Master of None), Deborah Chow (The High Cost of Living, Marvel’s Jessica Jones series) and Justin Tipping (the Dear White People series).
Who wrote the screenplay?
Keeping with the inclusive agenda of the project, Marvel hired Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham to handle the script for Shang-Chi. In addition to writing the original Expendables installment and working on the recent Godzilla reboot, he has experience with superhero movies that have yet to be released, namely Wonder Woman 1984 and the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse sequel, and co-wrote the upcoming Zombieland: Double Tap.
When does Shang-Chi come out?
Marvel Studios has not yet set a release date for the movie. Stay tuned!