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“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” Trailer Drops

Written by Mike Rickard II

Get ready for the latest Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, based on a comic book hero who has been around for nearly fifty years but who you may never have heard of. Join me for part one of my look at Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu as we look at the character’s publication history. Part two will examine the character’s controversial background and how the film’s cast hopes to dispel Asian stereotypes inherent in the property itself.

Marvel Studios just dropped a teaser trailer for its upcoming film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, currently scheduled for a September 3, 2021 release (although with the pandemic, who can be certain). The film stars Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience) as the title character, a martial arts master who was trained to be an assassin for the Ten Rings organization, but who is now hiding out in America. Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu (aka Marvel supervillain The Mandarin) wants him back and is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring him back into the fold.

The teaser trailer looks like an action-packed affair and as noted by The Hollywood Reporter, has been a long time coming:

Marvel reportedly made the film a priority in 2018 on the heels of the success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. The goal was to introduce the MCU’s first Asian superhero protagonist and have a film that embodies Asian and Asian American themes. Also, while many MCU films feature at least some degree of martial arts-inspired fighting, Shang-Chi is the first to be billed as a full-fledged martial arts movie.

Chances are, moviegoers have no idea who Shang-Chi is, but the character dates back to the early 70s when Marvel capitalized on the trend of kung fu films like Enter the Dragon and TV series such as Kung Fu. “The House of Ideas” acquired the rights to the pulp novels featuring the villainous Fu Manchu and decided to spin a saga of Fu Manchu’s son growing up believing his villainous father was actually a good man. After killing one of his father’s lifelong foes, Shang-Chi came to realize that everything he knew was a lie other than the martial arts mastery he’d developed from a young age. Shang-Chi subsequently fought his father as well as an army of various martial-arts type villains, occasionally meeting Marvel Comics’ other characters both heroes and villains. Shang Chi debuted in Marvel Special Edition #15 and eventually graduated into his own comic book, Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu. The book was a critical success and ran until 1983. Marvel revived the character and featured him in other books but most fans agree his original run was the best.

While Shang-Chi is by no means a household name, that hasn’t stopped Marvel from making hit films from B-list heroes such as Guardians of the Galaxy. The Marvel brand is so well-established that many viewers will give any Marvel film a go and so far, Marvel Studios has had tremendous success. As we’ll see next time around though, Marvel’s Shang-Chi is a character who presents a number of challenges for adaptation, but also a number of opportunities to address past stereotypes.

About the author

Mike Rickard II

Retired bank robber and author of "Wrestling's Greatest Moments", "Laughing All the Way to the Bank Robbery, "Flunky: Pawns and Kings," and "Don't Call Me Bush Beans: The Legend of a Three-Legged Cat." Pro wrestling and hockey fan. Hired gun for several pro wrestling sites and a top 10 YouTube wrestling channel. Available in regular and extra-strength.