We all take the Marvel Cinematic Universe for granted these days, but what Kevin Feige has achieved since he was first named as Marvel Studios’ President of Production at the tender age of 33 in March 2007 is unprecedented. A sprawling series of individual big budget blockbusters that all combine to form one overarching story was as ambitious as it was game-changing, and the MCU forever changed the complexion of blockbuster cinema.
It’s all the more impressive when you consider that Feige’s first credits in the industry came as an assistant to producer Lauren Shuler Donner on disaster film Volcano and rom-com You’ve Got Mail in the late 1990s, before her husband Richard tapped his extensive knowledge of Marvel lore by naming him as an associate producer on Bryan Singer’s X-Men in 2000.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings marks the MCU’s milestone 25th feature length installment, and while the pandemic has made the early projections more worrying than encouraging, Feige revealed in a recent interview that he’s wanted to bring the lesser-known character to life for close to 20 years, having listed all of his preferred candidates back in the early 2000s.
“I can’t remember how many titles were on there. But it was 20 or so. So many of the titles we identified early on was with the hope that we could do all sorts of different films, starring all sorts of different types of people. And for the last five years, we’ve been actively working on bringing the film to life.”
It’s one thing to have a list of names on a piece of paper and say you want to make them all the stars of their own movies, but it’s an entirely different matter to go ahead and do it. You’d imagine that Iron Man, Captain America and Thor were also on that list, but Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the sort of risky project that might never have made it out of development were the MCU not long established as the most commercially successful multi-film series in the history of cinema.