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Marvel's Shang Chi Director Named

 
  Perhaps no better/worse example of cultural tropes from a bygone era can be found in comics than the origin of Marvel's Chang Shi. Created in the early-70s heyday of Kung Fu film popularity, Shang Chi was Marvel's answer to two issues: They had failed to secure the rights to the "white guy acting Chinese" franchise KUNG FU, and they needed to find a way to capitalize on the massive popularity of Bruce Lee, who dominated action film culture at the time. Marvel's solution was to secure the rights to Sax Rohmer's literally-all-trope pulp novel series FU MANCHU and use that as the basis for a thinly veiled (read as not-veiled-at-all) ripoff of Bruce (except that Shang Chi uses guns, because completely-missing-the-point). The character's inception is not one of Marvel's prouder moments. After a few years of further missteps, Shang Chi developed into a fun and interesting character and even became an Avenger at one point. Still, he was arguably never handled correctly.
 
 
  Fast-forward to 2019. After seeing huge success with POC (people of color) characters like Luke Cage and Black Panther being written and directed by (gasp!)  POC filmmakers. Marvel has come to understand that the best way to get their characters right is to hand them to people who understand them best, and who can portray them in a nuanced, realistic light, rather than a shallow veneer of stereotypes. This film will mark the first time EVER (in 46 years of existence), that the Chinese protagonist has been handled by Chinese or Chinese-American creators. 
 
 
  So far, Disney/Marvel have announced the screenwriter and director for the film, and their choices give me optimism that it will be a well-depicted, if heavily-retconned (necessarily), take on a character who always had a lot of untapped potentials. 
 
  Screenwriting/script duties have gone to Dave Callaham, who penned the screenplay for next year's WONDER WOMAN 1984, as well as writing or co-writing DOOM, all four EXPENDABLES films, GODZILLA {2014}, and the upcoming features ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP, AMERICA: THE MOTION PICTURE, and the much-anticipated SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE 2. That's an impressive set of credentials! 
 
  Directing duties have been handed to Destin Daniel Cretton, whose credits include THE GLASS CASTLE, I AM NOT A HIPSTER, and the highly-regarded SHORT TERM TWELVE, starring CAPTAIN MARVEL's Brie Larson.
 
 
  There are few details available on the SHANG CHI film to be had aside from these two choices, but they show that Disney/Marvel have their heads in the right place in terms of how to handle a character and reflect the diversity across the Marvel Universe in a way that seems more than pandering or lip service. LUKE CAGE, BLACK PANTHER, and CAPTAIN MARVEL have all been phenomenal experiences, and I think that this is a great start to SHANG CHI continuing that trend. I'm very excited to see this film come to life. 
 
Until next time, keep it geek!

Benny No-Good

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