Kevin Feige dropped a lot of information about the upcoming fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will include a mix of films and streaming series that feature old and new characters. While fans were excited to see the return of characters like Loki, Black Widow, Doctor Strange, and more, it was the new arrivals that really started generating buzz.
Joining Feige and the rest of the already established cast members on stage at San Diego Comic-Con was Simu Liu, who will be playing the title role in the recently announced Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The Ten Rings are an obvious callback to Iron Man and the undeveloped terrorist organization that referenced the Mandarin, but what about Shang-Chi? Today we are going to take a look at 10 things MCU fans might not know about their new favorite hero.
10 HIS FATHER WAS ORIGINALLY FU MANCHU
While early reports indicate that the "real" Mandarin will be appearing in the film and may take on the role of Shang-Chi's father, things were a little different in the comics. Following Marvel's acquisition of the rights to Fu Manchu, who starred in a number of pulp books and films, they began creating a comic world around the characters.
Shang-Chi was the son of the crime-lord who rebelled against his father and his evil organization. As the character of Fu Manchu was a stereotypically racist portrayal of an Asian character, Marvel began to distance themselves from the character and even retconned Shang-Chi's comic father into a new character, sorcerer Zheng Zu, who had used "Fu Manchu" as an alias.
9 HE'S THE MASTER OF KUNG-FU
While the film jumps right into a more established title with the Ten Rings addition, it does leave off Shang-Chi's usual follow-up as the "Master of Kung-Fu." This title calls back to the origins of the character, which was inspired by the popularity of martial arts films and TV shows like Kung Fu, which Marvel initially tried to license before the Fu Manchu character.
That doesn't mean Shang-Chi doesn't come by the title honestly, as he is considered the greatest martial artist in the Marvel Universe, having mastered Kung Fu and Wushu, which is a combination of various fighting styles. Shang-Chi is also a weapons expert that extends to firearms as well.
8 HE WAS A HERO-FOR-HIRE
Shang-Chi has worked with a number of heroes over the years and established close friendships with a few ground-level heroes in New York like Daredevil, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage. These relationships led to a partnership with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing's version of Cage and Fist's Heroes-For-Hire.
Heroes-For-Hire felt like the next logical place for the Netflix Marvel series to go before their cancellations, and there were many rumors that Shang-Chi might have made his first appearance there had the series progressed to their natural Heroes-For-Hire destiny.
7 HE TRAINS OTHER HEROES
Shang-Chi doesn't just work with the other heroes, he also helps train them. After all, if you're looking to bone up on your fighting skills, the greatest Martial Artist in the world is a great place to start. However, he has shown to be picky about his students if they aren't fully prepared to learn.
More recently he taught Domino how to fight following the loss of her mutant luck powers, which is a similar service he offered Spider-Man following the loss of his Spider-Sense. His training with Spider-Man even benefitted himself when he gained similar spider-powers during the Spider-Island event.
6 HE'S A BRITISH INTELLIGENCE AGENT
While Shang-Chi is certainly an international hero in that he works all over the world from his small fishing town of Yang-Tin to New York, but when it comes to his work he's actually a British spy. Shang-Chi worked with MI6 to hunt down his father at the time, Fu Manchu.
He would also be involved with MI5, which was British Intelligence's secret service that also employed heroes like Union Jack and Excalibur. Even after his retirement from British Intelligence, he would often be called back into service to help his friends and former allies, which may be a way to further tie Shang-Chi into the MCU considering Nick Fury's role in the spy game.
5 HE'S AN AVENGER
When Captain America decided he needed a team of heroes that could operate outside of the Avengers usual public missions, he created the Secret Avengers. Shang-Chi joined with the team, who assisted him in discovering the truth about his father Zheng Zu and the mysterious Shadow Council, and he in turn then assisted them with their missions.
Shang-Chi was then made an official Avenger by Iron Man and Captain America following the events of Avengers vs. X-Men. Their drive to make a bigger and better Avengers machine forced them to branch out from their usual members by bringing new characters like Shang-Chi and young heroes like Sunspot and Cannonball to the team.
4 HE CAN MAKE COPIES OF HIMSELF
During his time with the Avengers, Shang-Chi found himself upgraded in various ways by the other members of the team. Tony Stark provided Shang-Chi with a number of improved weapons like electrified nunchaku or energized gauntlets, and he was even dosed with Pym Particles in order to fight a giant dragon.
However, it was his exposure to one of Ex Nihilo's Origin Bombs that granted Shang-Chi the ability to replicate himself. That meant the Master of Kung Fu had become a literal army of the world's deadliest fighters, though this ability hasn't been seen much beyond the original storyline.
3 HE WAS MODELED AFTER BRUCE LEE
Following Marvel's failed attempt at licensing the Kung Fu characters, they brought in writers Jim Starlin and Steve Englehart and artist Paul Gulacy to create their own character in 1972. Gulacy based the character visually on Bruce Lee, who died only six months after the character hit comic stands.
While his visual look was initially based on Bruce Lee, the coloring of the character proved to be a problematic issue in his earliest representations, as his skin was initially a golden color to separate him from his evil father, and printing limitations of the time reduced their options. Thankfully, Marvel was able to fix this issue, but it remains a bit of a stain on his already troubled origins.
2 BRANDON LEE ALMOST PLAYED SHANG-CHI
While an actual date wasn't confirmed, former President and CEO of Marvel Productions Margaret Loesch revealed that Stan Lee had attempted to get Shang-Chi made into a live-action movie or TV show, believing that the character was one of the best options to tackle both the big and small screens.
Lee even went so far as to meet with Bruce Lee's widow Linda and their son Brandon, who was beginning his own career in entertainment. An adaptation of Shang-Chi didn't go anywhere at that time, and Brandon Lee fatefully died on the set of 1994's The Crow, but Stan Lee obviously saw Brandon Lee's potential early on and thought he would be great for the role of Shang-Chi.
1 SHANG-CHI WAS PART OF MARVEL STUDIOS' EARLY MOVIE PLANS
When Marvel first started to begin plans to bring their characters to the big screen by themselves, instead of watching their popular characters make money for other film studios, they had an initial hurdle to overcome. The company had previously sold off the film rights to the majority of their characters, leaving a small sampling of heroes to initially work from.
This meant their initial film plans were for adaptations of characters like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Cloak & Dagger, Power Pack, and Shang-Chi. Obviously, they worked out deals for the Avengers characters like Iron Man and Captain America, which left Shang-Chi on the back burner until this year's announcement of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.