So far, the closest the Marvel Cinematic Universe has gotten to with Asian or Asian-American representation in the lead is, uh, Marvel Television’s recently-canceled Iron Fist. Barring that, it looks like Marvel Studios, on the other hand, is moving forward with a more authentic Asian-based project with the character of Shang-Chi.
Marvel Studios has recruited Chinese-American screenwriter David Callaham, who recently has gained writing or story credits for films such as the 2014 Godzilla movie and the delayed Wonder Woman 1984. Additionally, he created the television show Jean-Claude Van Johnson, in which Jean-Claude Van Damme portrays a fictional version of himself. Callaham is also slated to write one of the many animated films to come out after Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
Shang-Chi isn’t a character that I’m particularly familiar with, but I could say the same for most MCU characters before their respective films were released. It is refreshing that Marvel Studios is actually searching for a director of Asian descent, which could lead to the final film having a more authentic feel. This approach worked well with Black Panther, a film that explored the dichotomy between being African and African-American, with a mostly black cast, a black director, a black co-producer, and black writers.
This film project is one of many that has yet to be announced in the usual Marvel flashy way—it would make sense for the studio to wait until after the fourth Avengers movie (whatever it will be called) to unveil their full line-up. Shang-Chi joins the Black Widow movie, which will be directed by Cate Shortland, and the Eternals film, which will be helmed by Chloe Zhao. Both are female, independent filmmakers—with those films and Shang-Chi, it seems like the age of only white dudes directing these movies is coming to a close. Meanwhile, check out the second trailer for Captain Marvel, the first solo female-led film in the MCU.