As popular as the Iron Man movies have been, they have always suffered from a lack of compelling villains. In Iron Man 3, that seemed set to change, with the arrival of Tony Stark’s arch-enemy from the comics, The Mandarin. But that ended up being a cop-out, with The Mandarin turning out to be an actor only pretending to be the supervillain. Now, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to introduce the real Mandarin. According to producer Jonathan Schwartz, this version of the character is going to be a much more three-dimensional villain.
“I think people hear ‘the Mandarin‘ and expect a very specific kind of thing, and that may not be the thing they’re getting. They’re hopefully getting a more complex and layered take on the character than that name would lead you to.”
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings the main villain, who also happens to be the father of the titular hero, is a powerful warlord named Wenwu, played by iconic Hong Kong actor Tony Leung. One of the names that Wenwu is known by is “The Mandarin”, but that name might not be used too much. According to Schwartz, the focus this time around will be on Wenwu’s relationship to his estranged son, who chooses to rise up against his father after an abusive childhood.
“The core of Shang-Chi’s arc in the comics is really a family drama. That was something that [director] Destin [Daniel Cretton] keyed into really early on in our conversations, the idea of taking this broken family and this really dark, even abusive family background and seeing what that does to a child over time.”
There are a lot of expectations from the upcoming film, not least because it will feature the first Asian-American MCU superhero. Simu Liu was chosen to bring the character of Shang-Chi to life on the big screen, and the actor is fully aware of the responsibility. Liu asserts that the hope is to update the mythology surrounding Shang-Chi from the comics and get rid of its more “stereotypical” underpinnings.
“When you look at the character of Shang-Chi through the comic books going back to the ’70s and ’80s, the fact that he existed and the fact that he was an Asian character was amazing. But at the same time, there are aspects of that portrayal of him that maybe could feel a little stereotypical. So when we first started to map out who this character was and what his journey was going to be over the course of this film, we were all very sensitive to not have it go into stereotypical territory.”
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and written by Dave Callaham, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Jiang Nan, Meng’er Zhang, Ronny Chieng, Fala Chen, Dallas Liu, and Jiang Len. The film arrives in theaters on September 3. This news arrives from Entertainment Weekly.