The trailer gives fans a brief glimpse at the hero’s origin story, depicting a young man who was raised to be an assassin but ultimately stepped away from that life to try and live a normal one in San Francisco. However, when his old life catches up with him, he’s forced to rely on his martial arts training and fight his way out from under his father’s sinister plans.
While the promise of a new superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is enough to get fans excited after saying goodbye to a fair number of characters in 2019 following the conclusion of “Avengers: Endgame,” many in the Asian community are thrilled to finally see the first superhero who looks like them headlining a film of their own.
“When that announcement came out, I just went instantly back to my childhood,” director Destin Daniel Cretton told Entertainment Weekly of the film’s announcement. “[Growing up] all I had was Spider-Man. Because he had the mask on, I could dress up like Spider-Man for Halloween. I had a handful of other characters that looked like me on screen, but there were maybe two or three that I could choose from, and superheroes were not a part of that.”
Simu Liu, who stars in the film as the title character, echoed those sentiments, telling the outlet: “The most exciting thing about stepping into this character was that his backstory has never been told before. We know so many different versions of Batman’s origin story, how his parents were murdered when he was very young. We know Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, and he loses his uncle. Shang-Chi’s story is very much unknown to most of the world, so we had a lot of freedom and creative liberty to make it the way that we wanted to.”
Unlike his cohorts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi’s story is not as well-known as Captain America, Spider-Man or The Hulk. However, that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been around for a long time waiting to make his debut in mainstream pop culture.
First hitting the comic book pages in 1973, Shang-Chi was a way for Marvel to capitalize on the martial arts and kung fu movie craze that was growing in popularity at the time. The late Marvel Comics boss, Stan Lee, previously used Shang-Chi as an example of a character that could break into the mainstream before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even a thought on anybody’s mind.
According to an interview with Inverse from 2018, former President and CEO of Marvel Productions, Margaret Loesch, revealed the movie was in the works in the 1990s with Brandon Lee, whose father, Bruce, was largely responsible for bringing martial arts movies into the mainstream by having real martial artists like himself perform stunts. Unfortunately, Brandon was tragically killed in an accident on the set of the 1994 movie “The Crow” and talks of a “Shang-Chi” movie died with him.
Now, the character will finally be brought to life in the same universe as so many popular heroes before him when the film drops on Sept. 3.