Why Shang-Chi could be the living weapon Iron Fist should have been?


With a Shang-Chi movie in development, could the character potentially be the living weapon Finn Jones’ Iron Fist should have been?

With a majority of Marvel Netflix shows being axed, most recently being Daredevil, it’s almost as if fans of the MCU have the last two films of Phase Three; Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame and post–Phase Three, Spider–Man: Far From Home in the MCU to look forward to. A few weeks back, it was revealed that a standalone Shang-Chi film is currently in development. Other than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3, Spider–Man: FFH is the only movie that is more of a certainty in MCU Phase Four.

The Disney-owned motion picture studio behind a library of fantastical characters has plans in place. At the moment, no director is attached nor a film producer, but a Chinese-American screenwriter named Dave Callaham has been hired to write the screenplay. Now, it appears that Marvel Studios intends to execute a creative approach similar to that of Black Panther and of course also replicate similar, if not better, results with Shang-Chi featuring a predominantly Asian and Asian-American cast and likely a film director of Asian or Asian-American descent. As for who could helm the project, that’s a conversation for another time.

Created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin, unlike Iron Fist, whose most current bearer of the primordial force of energy known as chi also dubbed within the same technique as the namesake, Shang-Chi for most of his life had no superhuman powers until his later years when he was granted the ability to create duplicates of himself. The self–proclaimed Master of Kung-Fu first appeared in Special Marvel Edition  No.15 in 1973. Shang-Chi is the son of Fu Manchu, a pulp villain creation by novelist, Sax Rohmer, of whom Marvel acquired the publishing rights from. Shang was raised to become an assassin by his father. Aware of his father’s misdeeds, he faked his own death during an assignment and then allied with Dennis Nayland Smith, a British police commissioner and enemy of Fu Manchu. Together, Dennis and Shang worked to destroy many elements of Fu Manchu’s criminal empire.

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A standalone Shang-Chi movie is more than capable of being superior to the Iron Fist television series for a number of reasons. For the most part, the movie can overcome the biggest problem that began to plague at least the first season of Iron Fist, and that is Orientalism. This refers to depicting Asian or Arabic individuals as exotic others and more exaggerated than their White counterparts. Racial politics aside, with the character of Shang-Chi traditionally being of Asian ethnicity, this has the potential to not only feature an actor of Asian descent as the lead, but to also widen the lense through the eyes of said protagonist and produce authentic narratives in filmmaking with a writer, director and the majority of the cast being Asian.

This, however, does not mean it will be a product of Hong Kong cinema; rather, it will prevent marginalization of a certain ethnic group and provide jobs in the film industry. Needless to say, just because the focal point will be on Asians, that does not mean it will not include other ethnicities in front of and behind the camera. It will also paint a bigger picture of Eastern Asian culture and grant a broader scope on people of both Asian and Asian-American descent.

Black Panther is the start of a new era for Marvel Studios. dark. Next

It could also revitalize that corner of cinema. Shang-Chi can also dive a lot deeper into the mythology of that corner of the globe more than 2016’s Doctor Strange and Iron Fist (that Netflix series barely scratched the surface of K’un Lun, its populace and Shou-Lao the immortal dragon). Shang-Chi can also walk amongst the Avengers, the Daughters of Dragon (Colleen Wing and Misty Knight), Iron Fist, Luke Cage, White Tiger and many more within the MCU.