After last week’s news of Daredevil’s departure from Netflix screens, it is definitely going to continue being an interesting time for significant Marvel Studios announcements, though this week’s news seems more positive so far…
Industry site Deadline has broken the news that Marvel look to be fast-tracking a big-screen version of Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu. The announcement comes in the wake of two important learning curves for the company.
Firstly, the massive success of Black Panther showed that a character and production could highlight an under-represented demographic and still prove to be a crossover hit when handled honourably and correctly. That film fully embraced its African roots but received huge praise for good performances and universally-accessible story. There is already talk that the film might be nominated for an Oscar. Secondly, less positively, there was some flack generated by the company’s choice to go with Iron Fist and a caucasian actor (Finn Jones) for their martial-art action series collaboration with Netflix and Marvel appear to be firmly immersing themselves in creating a more pro-active Shang-Chi by looking for an actor of Asian descent to portray a character whose story is demonstrably eastern.
The comic character first appeared in the early 1970s, riding the wave of interest in Enter the Dragon and all things related to Bruce Lee and martial-arts. Some of those elements have dated less well than others and some of the racial stereotypes will be ignored, replaced or updated to fit modern sensibilities – especially now that elements of eastern culture are a global phenomena.
Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham has been approached to write the screenplay for the film and Deadline also notes that Marvel may also approach an Asian-American director to helm the project. Callaham recently wrote and produced the satirical Jean Claude Van Johnson series (starring Jean Claude Van Damme) for Amazon, worked with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns on the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, and is also down to work on Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, the green-lit sequel to this month’s anticipated animated addition to Marvel movies.