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Right now, there's nothing bigger than the superhero movie. Between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, DC's continuous slate of movies, and numerous titles unrelated to the big two publishers being adapted, it seems that every comic under the sun is getting its own movie. While that may be true, the genre has been criticized because so many of those titles focus solely on white dudes. However, one of Marvel's upcoming projects is looking to change that, and a major box office market is very excited about it.
Shang-Chi is a Chinese Marvel superhero, and the fact that he's coming to the big screen is one of the few things about the future of the MCU that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has actually confirmed. Unsurprisingly, it turns out that China is ready for this, not only because Shang-Chi is a Chinese hero, but because somebody of Chinese ancestry will play the part.
Recently, Variety reporter Justin Kroll tweeted out a claim that, as Marvel Studios goes looking for the actor to play Shang-Chi, they are exclusively looking for an actor of Chinese ancestry, not simply an Asian actor. The tweet has gone viral in China, a remarkable fact considering Twitter is censored in the nation.
The Shang-Chi news also followed the first look at Disney's live-action Mulan, another film which apparently has the nation quite pumped.
It seems China is ready for Shang-Chi to join the MCU. This is certainly good news for Marvel. The MCU has been big business in China, and certainly, whatever other reasons there may have been to lead to a Shang-Chi film, the fact that the movie could do well at the box office in China was certainly part of the calculus.
While China has become a more and more important part of the global box office, appealing to the country hasn't always been easy. While Disney does well with Marvel films and many other franchises, Star Wars has always struggled there. When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story added a pair of high profile Chinese actors to its cast, there was a feeling by some in the nation that the decision was more about pandering to the country rather than actually broadening representation.
Clearly China doesn't seem to feel like this is an entirely cynical idea. They're looking forward to a Chinese hero to be making it to the big screen, and the fact that somebody of another Asian culture won't be inserted into the story is yet another reason for China to be excited. We've been seeing more and more actors from China making the jump to Hollywood, and it seems like there's a solid chance that could happen here, although a Chinese-American actor would apparently also meet Marvel's requirements.
Beyond the fact that Shang-Chi is happening, there's little we know about the project. That may be changing very soon. Marvel Studios has a big Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend and it seems likely we'll get our first official news about the MCU's Phase 4 there.