Deadline is reporting that Marvel Studios has picked Shang-Chi to be its first superhero movie tentpole franchise led by an Asian protagonist. Chinese-American writer Dave Callaham has been chosen to write the screenplay.
Callaham has respectable franchise and superhero credibility having created the Expendables franchise and co-written the DC Warner Bros sequel Wonder Woman 1984 with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns. He is also penning the sequel to the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
In addition, Marvel is evaluating several Asian and Asian-American directors seeking to accomplish a movie experience that was as successful and culturally impactful as Marvel’s first potential Best Picture Oscar-winner, Black Panther.
Marvel would love to side-step its missed opportunities with the Asian market (see Iron Fist, Mandarin in Iron Man 3 and The Ancient One in Dr Strange) by introducing a new superhero who blends Asian and Asian American themes the same way Black Panther crafted a tale that tied into African and African American cultures under the guidance of a black writer and a black director.
Shang-Chi was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin in 1973 when Marvel was refused the right to adapt the Kung Fu television series starring the late Bruce Lee. The character took off in the wake of Lee’s post Enter the Dragon popularity and is a clear Bruce Lee facsimile.
Shang-Chi is the son of China-based globalist Fu Manchu who raised and educated him in his reclusive China compound, closed off to the outside world. Trained in the martial arts to possess unsurpassed skills, Shang-Chi is an extraordinary master of numerous wushu styles and eventually developed the poser to create countless duplicates of himself when he joined the Avengers.