‘Shang-Chi and the legend of the 10 rings’, the new film of phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), is considered an experiment, but it was planned for 20 years.
The superhero genre became one of the most successful at the box office and studios found a formula to make movies work; However, they weren’t always so lucky and comic book characters were considered a long shot 20 years ago.
To make the films, Marvel had to sell the rights to some characters in the early 2000s, such as Spider-Man, the X-Men or Blade. Those films were the first successful examples that opened the door for future successes of the comic book franchise.
Before those productions, Stan Lee spent years trying to persuade Hollywood production companies to adapt his stories, including that of Shang-Chi, but none were convinced enough.
With the rights assigned, Marvel reached an agreement with Dreamworks to make The Hands of Shang-Chi in 2001 under the direction of Stephen Norrington, but the project was never realized.
In 2004, Marvel announced that they would make their own films without selling the rights to other studios with plans to adapt Ant-Man, Avengers, Black Panther, Captain America, Cloak & Dagger, Doctor Strange, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Power Pack and Shang- Chi.
Plans changed and the MCU started in 2008 with Iron ManBut even that movie was labeled a long shot, as the hero was not the most popular character in the comics and Robert Downey Jr. was not the most beloved actor in Hollywood.
With the changes of plans in the MCU, Shang-Chi continued to appear on the pending project lists. Even with the heroes hitting the box office, Marvel wanted to introduce the Chinese character into Avengers 2012.
At that time, Marvel had conquered the Chinese box office, so introducing a character of that nationality would have been synonymous with success; however, the study chose that it would be the Mandarin who would appear on screen and Shang-Chi remained on the waiting list.
An important part of delaying the introduction of Shang-Chi is due to the fact that Marvel made numerous groups of studies in children’s audiences in the United States to carefully choose the characters they would adapt.
Being of another nationality, Shang-Chi did not appear in the first places of acceptance, while Iron Man and Captain America were more identifiable figures for children.
Shang-Chi remained on the standby bench until the company restructured in 2015 and their inclusion policies changed.
At that time, the films were already scheduled in the short term, but Kevin Feige was free to choose the priority projects for phase 4 of the MCU and, finally, in 2021, it was time for the Asian hero.
It was thus that Shang-Chi was one of the first premieres of the new stage of Marvel and, probably, will become one of the most important heroes in the new story arc.
Shang-Chi and the legend of the 10 rings has received positive reviews within the first hours since the premiere; probably 10 or 20 years ago it would not have had the same acceptance.
The fact that the project took so long to complete does not mean that it would have been better or worse; However, it leaves to the imagination what would have happened in the history of the MCU if it had been released earlier.
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Why did it take Shang Chi 20 years to premiere? It was part of Stan Lee’s plan