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Here’s a first look at the film from director Destin Daniel Cretton (Just Mercy):

Marvel reportedly made the film a priority after in 2018 on the heels of the success of Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians with an eye toward introducing its first Asian MCU protagonist and a film that embodies Asian and Asian American themes. Also, while many MCU films feature at least some degree of martial arts-inspired fighting, Shang-Chi is the first to be a full-fledged martial arts movie.

Marvel has been met with controversy when attempting to delve into Asian themes before. Its 2017 Netflix TV series, Iron Fist, was widely slammed for focusing on a wealthy white character who masters Asian fighting traditions (which is the same setup as the comics). The show was canceled after two seasons. And the MCU’s 2016 film Doctor Strange had a whitewashing controversy when actress Tilda Swinton was cast in the part of The Ancient One – a character that is Asian in the comics (director Scott Derrickson explained the production was attempting to avoid Asian stereotypes but by doing so admittedly removed an Asian character from the film).

Shang-Chi is part of Marvel’s Phase Four and like many titles, its production was initially interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Other cast members include Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, Tony Leung as Shang-Chi’s father and the leader of the Ten Rings, and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan.

The film is scheduled to be released Sept. 3, 2021 and is one of four Marvel titles headed to theaters this year along with Black Widow (July 9), Eternals (Nov. 5) and  Spider-Man: No Way Home (Dec. 17).

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