Shang-Chi To Mark Marvel's First Superhero Franchise With Asian Lead

Shang-Chi Marvel Studios

Shang-Chi Marvel Studios

Any studio would love to replicate that kind of success, and it looks like Marvel is taking steps to attempt to catch lightning in a bottle again. Deadline has revealed that Chinese-American scribe David Callaham will be writing the film.

In terms of what Marvel hopes to accomplish with Shang-Chi, the immediate reference point is Black Panther, which utilized African-American filmmakers and an nearly all-black cast to create a world and story steeped in African culture and themes that resonated with African and African-American audiences.

Marvel Studios reportedly is working on its first feature film with an Asian hero as the lead. The film will also tie into the Marvel Universe and it's powerhouse franchises. Now, Marvel is looking to get even more diverse in front of and behind the camera with a Shang-Chi movie.

The general plot holds that Shang-Chi was born in Hunan Province in communist China.

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The character first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 in December 1973 and was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin. He soon meets his father's arch-nemesis (and the enemy of Fu Manchu, Sir Denis Nayland Smith), who causes Shang-Chi to question who his father really is.

Initially an unparalleled master of all forms of martial arts, Shang-Chi later gained the power to make duplicates of himself and has interacted over the years with the Avengers, the X-Men, Daughters of the Dragon, Spider-Man, the Thing, Iron Fist, and many others.

That's about all the details we have at the moment, but good on Marvel Studios for learning the right lessons from Black Panther and not simply returning to the mine of "Good-Looking White Dude" protagonists.

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).

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