Director On The Importance Of Shang-Chi Working ‘Shoulder To Shoulder’ With The Rest Of The MCU


Wenwu (Tony Leung) and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021.

When it comes to representation we have already seen Marvel Studios hit a home run with Black Panther back in 2018. Today, they took a step to showcase another culture with Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings. The film has quite the line-up of Asian stars including Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Tony Leung Chiu-wai, and Michelle Yeoh.

Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings is the first superhero film starring an Asain lead. Also with an Asian American director and writer based on a character who was actually originally Asain. But this movie could easily be overshadowed by either representation or fitting the Marvel Cinematic Universe narrative. Which was more important?

(L-R): Katy (Awkwafina), Jon Jon (Ronny Chieng) and Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

During a press conference that LRM Online took part in, director Destin Daniel Cretton answered which was more important. “Well, it was always about both. My producing partner on this film, Jonathan Schwartz, has worked on this movie for a long time. We wanted to do it for both of those reasons. To bring this specific character into the MCU. But just as important to bring representation of another kind to this film. That was really what Destin brought in his pitch. Which was action, cool, Marvel, but it was really the story of this father and son that someday you should put that presentation out into the world actually that he put together.” Said Cretton


He explained how in order for Asian representation to shine, Shang-Chi needed to be showcased as an equal to the title heroes that we all know and love. Or else what was the point? Something that Marvel Studios did brilliantly with Black Panther “I think what is extra relevant to the culture is that this is a Marvel film. If we were not putting Shang-Chi shoulder to shoulder with all the amazing other Marvel superheroes that we’ve come to love in the past, that would be, to me, a big disservice to the culture and the character. So, both, I think, are equally important.” He Continued.

(L-R): Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) in Marvel Studios’ SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS. Photo by Jasin Boland. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Overall, I feel that they did a fantastic job. But the final word will come from the people who are represented. We’ll get those reactions in the next few days. Now… I wait for a feature MCU film featuring a Latino lead! All in good time I hope!

Catch Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings in theaters now!


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