Marvel’s Shang-Chi, the second in the MCU’s Phase 4 period, has run into a couple speed bumps in the weeks before its release. First there was some fuss between its star, Simu Liu, and Disney CEO Bob Chapek over the latter calling it an “experiment.” (MCU honcho Kevin Feige chalked this up to a simple misunderstanding.) And then there’s the character himself. He was created in 1973 and, as you probably can imagine, some aspects don’t exactly hold up in 2021. But Feige swears they surgically removed anything that could have been culturally insensitive.
As per Variety, Feige addressed certain concerns to Chinese fans, who have worried that the movie, which does not yet have a release date in their nation, would carry on some of the more questionable aspects of the comics. Among the concerns: that in the ‘70s comics our hero’s father is no less than Fu Manchu, the infamous villain first introduced in the early 20th century and now widely seen as an anti-Asian stereotype. But Feige says not only is he not in the film — the father is instead Wenwu, or The Mandarin, played by Tony Leung — but he was never once considered for inclusion.
“[Fu Manchu] is not a character we own or would ever want to own. It was changed in the comics many, many, many years ago. We never had any intention of [having him] in this movie,” Feige explained. “Definitively, Fu Manchu is not in this movie, is not Shang-Chi’s father, and again, is not even a Marvel character, and hasn’t been for decades.”
Feige also addressed another big worry: that in the comics, Shang-Chi rejects his Chinese upbringing and conforms to Western ideals. Instead, in the film, the opposite happens.
“That sense of running away…is presented as one of his flaws,” Feige said. “It is a flaw to run away to the West and to hide from his legacy and his family — that’s how the movie is presented. And how he will face that and overcome that is part of what the story’s about.”
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits American theaters on September 3, so we’ll see whether or not Feige and company licked some of the more problematic problems with the source. Its Chinese release, however, is still up in the air, and there’s concern the MCU’s first film about Asian characters will not pass the censors.