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Marvel's Phase 4 is going to be bringing a host of new faces into the MCU. One of those new faces will be Shang-Chi as the first Marvel hero of Asian origin will be making his debut in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
However, beyond simply starring an Asian lead, the movie will be comprised largely, if not exclusively, of an Asian cast and include an Asian director in Destin Daniel Cretton, who is excited to show the world, and a new young generation, the Asian superhero movie he never had...
It’s really exciting to me to be able to fill a movie like that with a bunch of Asian faces and be able to see sides of these characters than what we have seen before. Growing up, I didn’t have a super hero that looked like me and it’s really exciting to give a new generation something I did not have. I couldn’t be more excited.
Destin Daniel Cretton's excitement for being part of something he did not have himself as a child is likely mirrored by the rest of the cast and crew who will be involved in Shang-Chi. In addition to Simu Liu as the title character, the film will also include Awkwafina and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as The Mandarin. This will be the western film debut for Leung, who is a popular star in the east. The fact that this film will be a debut of sorts for Leung, and likely many others, is an example of just the sort of opportunity the director is talking about.
What Cretton tells the Observer is a refrain that we've heard from many filmmakers of color in recent years, The fact is that heroes on the big screen have never matched the diversity of the world in which they are made, but slowly that issue has begun to be remedied in at least a small way. Like Black Panther before it, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has the potential to energize a community simply by being the one example of an Asian superhero that's available, but one is better than none.
Superhero movies, and specifically Marvel's superhero movies have become a cultural touchstone. They're the most popular media on the planet right now. This also makes them the most important media on the planet right now. If art is supposed to be a reflection of the world around us, then it needs to reflect that diversity.
If Black Panther is any indication, then Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has the potential to be an absolutely massive success. Panther made more than $1 billion, largely thanks to the domestic audiences' embrace of the film. We saw entire theaters being bought out so that African American kids would be sure to see a black superhero on the big screen. It's entirely possible, even likely, we could see something similar happen with Shang-Chi and the Asian community. And that's not even including what the movie could end up doing overseas.