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How The MCU Has Updated Shang-Chi's Dated Origins According To The Movie's Star


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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu explains how the MCU has updated the character's very dated origins. At long last, Shang-Chi is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kim's Convenience star Liu was officially cast in the role in 2019, with an eye on him debuting in his own solo movie. However, the coronavirus pandemic proved to be a mightier villain than even Thanos, and Shang-Chi has been one of the many movies pushed back multiple times. Shang-Chi is expected to be released on September 3 of this year, as the second movie in the MCU's Phase 4.

After months of little updates, Marvel unleashed a flood of Shang-Chi news on Monday, Liu's birthday. In addition to revealing the very first Shang-Chi trailer, the character's official MCU costume was revealed on a teaser poster, and new plot details have emerged. For example, it has now been confirmed that the Mandarin (Tony Leung), now named Wenwu, is Shang-Chi's father, and that the hero grew up in his criminal world. Since then, however, Shang-Chi has distanced himself from that space. It's a change in his origins, and it isn't the only one to occur.

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RELATED: Ant-Man’s Forgotten MCU Tease Can Be Solved In Shang-Chi

As part of an EW feature on Shang-Chi, Liu discussed the evolution of the character's origins. As is the case with many early comics characters of color, Shang-Chi was created with good intentions, but several elements are seriously outdated now (For example, a character named Fu Manchu was once Shang-Chi's father). Therefore, it was necessary to change some things when bringing the character to the MCU, as Liu explained:

"When you look at the character of Shang-Chi through the comic books going back to the '70s and '80s, the fact that he existed and the fact that he was an Asian character was amazing. But at the same time, there are aspects of that portrayal of him that maybe could feel a little stereotypical. So when we first started to map out who this character was and what his journey was going to be over the course of this film, we were all very sensitive to not have it go into stereotypical territory."

These days, representation is more important than ever. The past year has seen a massive cultural reckoning in how Hollywood portrays its characters of color, and that Marvel (along with director Destin Daniel Cretton and writer Dave Callaham) made sure to adjust the negative elements of Shang-Chi's origin speaks to their dedication to bettering their own representation. Shang-Chi will be the first MCU film to be led by an Asian hero, and that is no small thing. By avoiding past stereotypes, Marvel has the opportunity to create something special.

Shang-Chi features a supporting cast comprised of those like Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh. There is still much to learn about the film, though Monday's reveals are a nice start. Going into Phase 4 and beyond, the MCU is going to become a lot more diverse, and that is an exciting thing. Hopefully, Shang-Chi will remain scheduled for September so fans can finally welcome Liu and his updated Marvel hero into the franchise.

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