Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' Will Be Its First Asian-Led Film

With "Avengers: Endgame" quickly approaching, many have wondered what might be next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the recent news that Marvel is shooting a new movie in Australia, there has been much speculation for what that movie may be. A name that has been brought up in this speculation is "Shang-Chi." News of the development of "Shang-Chi" first came out in December, with Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham writing the screenplay. Recently, Marvel hired Destin Daniel Cretton to direct the film.

The character Shang-Chi debuted in the Marvel comics in 1973, intending to capitalize on the widespread success of martial arts movies at the time. Shang-Chi is also known as the "Master of Kung Fu" and is a superhero known for his skill in martial arts. The character is of Chinese-American descent, making "Shang-Chi" the first Asian-led Marvel movie.

"Shang-Chi" is a significant step in representation for the Asian-American community. While Asian Americans are often stereotyped as submissive and Asian men, in particular, as less masculine, a movie like "Shang-Chi" can help to subvert these stereotypes in its portrayal of an Asian-American man as the hero. While the character Shang-Chi was most likely portrayed with many stereotypes of Asian men initially, the film looks to draw on elements of Shang-Chi's background as an Asian American. Marvel is following the example of its 2018 film "Black Panther," which was a major success, with "Shang-Chi." Much like "Black Panther," which had a black cast, writer, and director, Marvel sought out an Asian-American writer and director and can be expected to draw on Asian and Asian-American inspiration for the film.

"Shang-Chi" is certainly highly anticipated among the Asian-American community, being the first Asian-led Marvel movie. It's not often that Asian Americans get to see themselves in the role of a superhero, especially not as the headliner: the few Asian heroes we have seen in Marvel movies only seem to play supporting roles. The inclusion of Shang-Chi in the MCU is, therefore, an exciting prospect for Asian Americans, and definitely a very visible sign of progress in representation.

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