Deadline has reported that Marvel Studios is planning a Shang-Chi film that will hopefully launch a new franchise based on Asian protagonist of the same name. The studio has reportedly signed Dave Callaham to write the screenplay and is looking to hire Asian and Asian-American directors for the film.

What’s happening:

  • According to Deadline, Marvel Studios is looking to bring the stories of Shang-Chi to the big screen and has reportedly already signed Dave Callaham to write the screenplay.
  • Marvel is also looking to hire Asian and Asian-American directors to helm the proposed franchise.
  • Just like Ryan Coogler did with the massively successful Marvel’s Black Panther, Deadline says “the goal here is to do a similar thing: introduce a new hero who blends Asian and Asian American themes, crafted by Asian and Asian American filmmakers”
  • Marvel Studios president, Kevin Feige has indicated on several occasions that the Marvel Studios legacy wants to focus on diversity and inclusion.

About Dave Callaham:

  • The Chinese-American Callaham has plenty of experience with superheroes and franchise-building and will also pull from his own personal experiences to create the Shang-Chi mythology.
  • Among his many credits are:
    • Served as co-writer with Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johnson on the DC Warner Bros film Wonder Woman 1984
    • Writer of the sequel for Sony’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2
    • Writer on early drafts of Zombieland 2, which will begin production this January
    • Creator and producer of the Amazon’s series Jean-Claude Van Johnson, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
    • Creator of the Expendables franchise and the story for the Godzilla reboot.
    • Writer of the Netflix dark comedy caper Jackpot, which Will Gluck will direct
    • Writer and co-producer of Netflix’s America: The Motion Picture. Callaham is working on this project with Channing Tatum, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Adam Reid, and Matt Thompson.

Shang-Chi in Marvel Comics:

  • Shang-Chi also known as the “Master of Kung Fu” made his first appearance in Special Marvel Edition #15 in December 1973 and was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.
  • The script will be updated to fit in with the times to avoid unsavory stereotypes often associated with comics of earlier eras.  Shang-Chi’s character was launched around the time Enter the Dragon was a global sensation and martial arts films were in high demand.
  • According to the comic lore, Shang-Chi is the son of Fu Manchu, and was raised and educated in a reclusive China compound, closed off to the outside world.
  • His training led to impressive martial arts skills and he was finally introduced to the outside world only to do his father’s bidding.
  • Shang-Chi then learns that the father he respects is closer to what others call him: The Devil’s Doctor and less of the humanitarian he believed him to be.


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