We are practically nowhere before Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings are released – 95%. This movie is a risk for Marvel because he is one of its lesser known characters. If we think about it, it has not appeared in any of the multiple animated series and it does not have as many comics as other characters. He’s basically a character that most viewers are going to get to know by watching his first MCU movie.
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The question that more than one viewer will have is whether they were inspired by a comic. The reality is that Marvel, like DC, loosely relies on a few stories to make its movies. Not for nothing for one of the producers are really great What If in relation to what happens in the comics. The point is that as we said there are not so many comics of this character and less so many that do what they wanted to do. Show a story that represents Asians in a positive and stereotype-free way. The comic that does that best is Shang-Chi, vol. 1: Brothers and Sisters by Gene Luen Yang. He is one of today’s best comic book writers and cartoonists and one who has particularly reflected on the Asian experience in America and the world. The problem is, that was released when the production of the film was probably well under way. For the same reason, the question remains as to what they were inspired by.
In Comic Book they had the opportunity to chat with Destin Daniel Cretton about the film and it is not surprising that they have just asked him about that particular topic. The director revealed what many of us already suspected. The inspiration was rather thematic and there was no attempt to adapt the plot of any specific story. Here are his words:
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We definitely took directly from the comics on the subject of a very complicated relationship between father and son. And we wanted to inject that with our own experience. Growing up as an Asian American in Hawaii and Dave Callaham, growing up as a Chinese American in the Bay Area [de San Franscisco]… We just wanted Shang-Chi to feel like our friends … it felt like he was surrounded by characters who felt like our family and to see him begin a journey that we could feel fully reflected with, so that was the core. of our creative hope for this film.
It cannot be denied even by mistake that the relationship between father and son has always been the central theme of all stories about this martial artist. And it must be taken into account that part of that issue is the idea of living in the shadow of parental expectations. That in itself is also a recurring theme in art created by people of Asian descent. It is interesting that in the film they knew how to reflect that theme well.
On the other hand, it should absolutely come as no surprise to any soul in this world that Simu Liu has basically said that performing with Tony Chiu-Wai Leung was a day-to-day master class. He said that in an Ask Me Anything session on Marvel’s Reddit called r / MarvelStudios (via Comic Book). His exact words and without a comma to spare were the following that you can read below:
It was like a master class in acting every day. He is without a doubt as legendary as the legends say. What makes Tony so incredibly observable is his stillness, his ability to express so much emotional color with a single glance. For a newbie like me coming to a set full of nervous energy, he helped me put my feet on the ground and forced me to be still and present.
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