It’s taken twelve years to get off the ground but the word now is that Marvel IP, Shang-Chi is finally poised for a feature film debut. Dave Callaham (The Expendables franchise, upcoming Wonder Woman 1984 and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse 2) is penning the script with a search reportedly underway for a director of Asian descent.
The news comes on the heels of a recent article at Inverse citing now-departed Stan Lee’s former boss, Margaret Loesch, who stated Lee had intended to develop a feature film adaptation starring actor and martial arts star Brandon Lee in the early 90s. Among several incarnations hailing as the brainchild of creators Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin, the Hu’nan province-born hero launched in 1973 in time for the kung fu craze brought on by the popularity of Enter The Dragon.
According to Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr., Marvel Studios is looking to achieve similar successes that it found in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther, the studio’s first viable Best Picture candidate. “The goal here” as the article notes “…is to do a similar thing: introduce a new hero who blends Asian and Asian American themes, crafted by Asian and Asian American filmmakers.”
Fleming adds: “Callaham has strong credentials in the superhero and franchise-building realms and his own experiences as a Chinese-American will inform the Shang-Chi movie mythology, sources said.”
In the comics, Shang-Chi is the son of China-based globalist who raised and educated his progeny in his reclusive China compound, closed off to the outside world. The son trained in the martial arts and developed unsurpassed skills. He is eventually introduced to the outside world to do his father’s bidding, and then has to come to grips with the fact his revered father might not be the humanitarian he has claimed to be and is closer to what others call him: The Devil’s Doctor. He also might be centuries old. The deceit makes them bitter enemies.
This bit of news is just the first of what’s to come this week in the wake of the passing of Marvel’s founding patriarch. It’s not like it’ll be too hard to find an Asian talent ready and willing to rise to the challenge of bringing Shang-Chi to life either, and there’s plenty to currently sift through, especially since the #OscarsSoWhite fiasco a few years earlier.
Keep your eyes peeled!