Marvel Developing Shang-Chi as Its First Asian Superhero Movie, Dave Callaham Set as Writer: Reports

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Following the success of its first African-American superhero lead in Black Panther, Marvel Studios has reportedly put Shang-Chi in development, which would be its first Asian protagonist on screen. Dave Callaham (Wonder Woman 1984), an American writer of Chinese descent, has been picked to script the Shang-Chi movie for Marvel. No actor or director is currently attached to the project, though reports say that Marvel is looking at Asians and Asian-Americans.

Deadline and Variety bring word of the new Marvel project, which is reportedly being “fast-tracked” by the Disney-owned studio. Callaham will use his experiences as a Chinese-American to inform the Shang-Chi lore, says Deadline, with the script also modernising the outdated and stereotypical aspects of the character that were prevalent in that era. Shang-Chi’s first appearance in Marvel Comics was in December 1973, around the time martial arts films became popular in the West.

In addition to co-writing the screenplay for Wonder Woman 1984 with director Patty Jenkins and DC Comics’ Geoff Johns, Callaham has a story credit on 2014’s Godzilla and co-wrote 2010’s The Expendables with Sylvester Stallone. He also created Amazon’s comedy-action series Jean-Claude Van Johnson. Callaham is also working on the script for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, whose first chapter is out next Friday, December 14.

If it goes through, Shang-Chi will be part of the post-Avengers 4 future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alongside Spider-Man: Far From Home out July 2019 and in-the-works projects Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson and directed by Cate Shortland (Lore); Black Panther sequel from writer-director Ryan Coogler; The Eternals, written by Matthew and Ryan Firpo, and with Chloé Zhao (The Rider) as director; and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which has reportedly been delayed to 2021.

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