On September 3rd, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will explode into theaters, once again taking the Marvel Cinematic Universe into uncharted territory. A martial arts fantasy blockbuster with a predominantly Asian cast and a title hero that doesn’t come with much built-in name value could be a risky proposition, were it being delivered by anyone other than Marvel Studios.
These days, the MCU is about as bulletproof as it gets, which has led to Kevin Feige giving the green light to all sorts of projects that might raise eyebrows at other studios around town. That’s the creative leeway that comes when your franchise is fast approaching $25 billion in box office takings and can generate $60 million in Disney Plus revenue in the space of a single weekend.
There’s no such thing as a risk for Marvel anymore, and in a new interview Feige revealed that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been on his to-do list for 20 years, before he finally got the movie into production with Destin Daniel Cretton at the helm and Simu Liu in the lead role.
“Shang-Chi is a movie that ended up on a ‘Wouldn’t It Be Great’ list where ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do this as a movie’, probably 20 years ago. It’s a great story of a young man that realizes his father is essentially one of the world’s greatest supervillains and one of the world’s greatest criminals. How do you process that? And how do you deal with that as a child? How do you evolve beyond that?
That was a great, driving story that we wanted to explore someday. Looking for a filmmaker to do it was, as it always is, important and Destin coming in and, again, dedicating his talents. He’s an amazing filmmaker that makes amazing movies that have been on the smaller-budgeting size compared to a big Marvel movie, but coming in and giving his vision to this father and son is special.”
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 his in depth knowledge of Marvel lore saw her husband Richard Donner name him as an associate producer on Bryan Singer’s X-Men in 2000. It would be an understatement to say he’s come a long way since then, and as one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t going to be the last one of his dream projects to become a reality.