On Saturday, July 20, 2019, during their hotly-anticipated San Diego Comic-Con panel at Hall H, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was part of the official slate for Phase 4. Development on Shang-Chi has been reported on for months, whether it was when David Callaham was tapped to write the screenplay last December or when Destin Daniel Cretton signed on to direct back in March. But it was during the epic panel at Hall H where Feige brought out Cretton as well as Shang-Chi himself, Simu Liu, out to the stage to be properly introduced to the crowd of thousands as well as the rest of the world – truly a significant moment for Asian representation.
To say that Shang-Chi is going to have a monumental impact on Asian representation is an understatement. Obviously, one cannot deny the impact that Jon M. Chu’s Crazy Rich Asians had in the industry when it hit theaters last year, which grossed $238.5 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing romantic comedy in a decade. But while Crazy Rich Asians proved that actors/actresses of Asian descent can succeed as romantic comedy leads, Shang-Chi has the opportunity to kick Asian representation to the next level.
For one, the fact that Shang-Chi has the benefit of being part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a major plus. After all, the MCU has become the big kahuna of all franchises in the world right now, with Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest-grossing film of all-time. All the goodwill that the MCU has from audiences worldwide will certainly carry on through Phase 4, even after how satisfying of a finale Endgame turned out to be for The Infinity Saga.
Also, although it took them about a decade to reach this point in cultural significance, Marvel finally brought Black Panther and Captain Marvel to the big screen in their own standalone films – both of which were significant in their strides for representation for both the Black community and strong female superheroes respectively in this franchise. It’s also worth giving the DC Extended Universe some well-deserved credit in finally bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen in 2017.
Basically, we’ve reached a point in the Heroic Age of Hollywood where the future of the comic book movie genre is getting more diverse than ever, and it’s about time that with Shang-Chi, Asian audiences will have a chance to see a superhero movie that represents them – especially after decades of whitewashed casting and stereotypical minor roles.
On a more personal note, as a Filipino-American who grew up loving superheroes from both the page and screen, I rarely saw any heroes that looked like myself or like my sisters. Truth be told, the thought of the lack of significant Asian representation in any forms of media rarely crossed my mind. But as I grew older, I started to realize how media’s portrayal of Asian men, in particular, has subconsciously impacted the way I have viewed my own self-worth as well as how others have viewed men that looked like me. Basically, if we weren’t doctors to the white leads of the many films/shows in popular culture, we were emasculated and presented as undesirable romantic prospects.
In other words, for every Harold Lee (John Cho) as the titular co-lead (Harold & Kumar) in a role that transcends Asian stereotypes, there were *hundreds* of Long Duk Dong (Gedde Watanabe in Sixteen Candles) type of roles that further promoted negative stereotypes.
Truth be told, Marvel Studios hasn’t had a perfect track record when it comes to Asian representation in their franchise. It’s hard not to forget about the controversy regarding the casting of the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, where Tilda Swinton came in to portray a Celtic reimagining of the character, whereas he was depicted as a Tibetan man in the original comics. But to their credit, they have had numerous Asian actors/actresses involved, which includes the likes of Dave Bautista and Pom Klementieff as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Benedict Wong as a reinvention of the character Wong in Doctor Strange, and Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, the best friend to Peter Parker/Spider-Man as well as his “guy in the chair”.
But with Shang-Chi, the time has finally come for a superhero film with a predominately-Asian cast to leave its mark. Simu Liu has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help bring change not just to the superhero genre, but to the entire entertainment industry as an Asian superhero front-and-center on the big screen. And based off of his presence at the Hall H panel as well as his A+ Twitter game, he’s more-than-ready for this moment:
Thanks for getting back to me https://t.co/FFRuM03p20
— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) July 21, 2019
So yeah, not only is he Shang-Chi, but he’s also Nostradamus.
Thankfully, he will have the help of fellow co-stars Awkwafina and Tony Leung amongst an ever-growing cast that will certainly inspire an entire generation of young Asians to pursue a career in entertainment in numbers like we’ve never seen before. That, along with Cretton in the director’s chair and Callaham penning the script will help make Shang-Chi not just a new superhero movie, but a full-on movement that will absolutely kick Asian representation to the next level.
A film like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would’ve done wonders for me if it came out when I was a kid. I can only imagine how much Shang-Chi will impact Asian children of today – especially in a time when superheroes rule the world.
So with all that in mind, I would like to say thank you to Marvel Studios for finally bringing this exciting opportunity in pushing Asian representation with Shang-Chi officially on the slate for Phase 4. I wish the cast and crew involved all the luck that they need. After all, cinematic history is on the horizon and an entire generation of Asian kids are waiting in the wings for this moment. February 12, 2021, cannot come soon enough.
‘Spider-Man’ Concept Art Reveals Alternate Suits For Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio
New Spider-Man: Far From Home concept art reveals alternate costume designs for Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio.
Marvel fans have been clamoring to see Mysterio in a live-action film ever since the release of Sam Raimi's first Spider-Man movie. Nearly two decades later, Mysterio finally made his way into a Spider-Man film with the release of Marvel Studios and Sony's Far From Home, with Jake Gyllenhaal portraying the classic Spidey foe.
While the writers incorporated elements of previous Marvel Studios films for the origin of Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio, this take on the character was largely faithful to the source material, especially in terms of the villain's costume design. However, new concept illustrations reveal alternate designs for Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio suit were considered, some of which are notably different from the comic book outfit with entirely different color schemes.
You can check out the first concept illustration of Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio costume below and click "next" to view the rest of the gallery.
What do you think of these concept designs? Which alternate costume design is your favorite? Would any of them be a better suit for Jake Gyllenhaal's Mysterio? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Here is the official synopsis for Spider-Man: Far From Home:
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever.
Directed by Jon Watts from a script written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers, Spider-Man: Far From Home stars Tom Holland, Jake Gyllenhaal, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon, Tony Revolori, Martin Starr, Numan Acar, J.B. Smoove, Oli Hill, Remy Hii, Marisa Tomei, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Cobie Smulders, and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Spider-Man: Far From Home is now playing in theaters! Stay tuned for the latest news on the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe!