A Shang-Chi movie has been in various incarnations over the years. One version coming from Blade director Stephen Norrington in the 1990s-2000s that never saw the light of day. There also had been rumblings that Netflix was considering adding the Asian-American superhero to their hero lineup.
Deadline is now reporting that Shang-Chi will be getting his big screen debut as they’ve started development on a film with screenwriter David Callaham (The Expendables, Wonder Woman 1984, Zombieland 2, Godzilla, Mortal Kombat). They also mention they’ll be seeking an Asian director to helm it.
Marvel Studios is fast-tracking Shang-Chi to be its first superhero movie tentpole franchise with an Asian protagonist. The studio has set Chinese-American scribe Dave Callaham to write the screenplay, and Deadline hears Marvel is already looking at a number of Asian and Asian-American directors who want to do something as potentially monumental as was accomplished in Marvel’s first viable Best Picture candidate, Black Panther. That film tied into African and African American cultures and the sensibilities of its nearly all-black cast, with a black director in Ryan Coogler and writer in Joe Robert Cole. The goal here is to do a similar thing: introduce a new hero who blends Asian and Asian American themes, crafted by Asian and Asian American filmmakers.
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.
Callaham is also attached to write an untitled sequel to Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse for Sony Pictures, so he’ll have plenty of comic book credits under his belt.
ThatHashtagShow was originally circling a rumbling that Marvel Studios was courting Callaham for an undisclosed project, it looks like Shang-Chi was that project.
After the success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians breaking down doors, it was only a matter of time until Kevin Feige announced a leading Asian superhero film. We had hoped it would be Namor, but this is just as awesome if I’m honest.
One part spy one part martial arts superhero, Shang-Chi is the loosely based on Bruce Lee’s iconic character from Enter The Dragon. He’s developed multiple superpowers over the years to separate him other martial arts characters in Marvel Comics, including the ability to multiply himself.
It’s unknown when and where Shang-Chi could begin production.