Marvel Wants to Create Asian and Asian American-Driven Superhero Franchise ‘Shang-Chi’

Marvel is reportedly on the search for an Asian or Asian American director to helm its first Asian superhero franchise in “Shang-Chi,” with Chinese American writer Dave Callaham already on board as scriptwriter.

According to Deadline, Marvel Studios is looking to create an Asian and Asian American project with as much cultural and box office power as its explosive “Blank Panther.” 

Shang-Chi, who bears a resemblance to Bruce Lee, is a character who made his first appearance in 1973. Known as the “Master of Kung Fu,” he is born in China as the son of Fu Manchu, a bloodthirsty supervillain who seeks to conquer the world.

Callaham’s additional upcoming writing credits include DC’s “Wonder Woman” sequel “Wonder Woman 1984” and Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2.” His previous credits include the TV series “Jean-Claude Van Johnson” and the 2010 film “The Expendables.”

After the passing of Marvel legend Stan Lee, Inverse reported that, in the 1980s, Stan Lee had wanted to cast Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son, as Shang-Chi and bring the character to film or TV. “Stan had great belief that … [a project based on characters like Shang-Chi] could be very popular. I can’t remember what happened, I think maybe we felt out the networks and they weren’t interested because of the violence,” Margaret Loesch, the former president and CEO of Marvel Productions, told Inverse.

“Shang-Chi” is not the only Asian superhero film in development. This summer, we learned that Sony is adapting “Silk” — a comic book series centered on Korean American superheroine Cindy Moon — into a feature film, with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” producer Amy Pascal attached.