Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently opened up about what could have been if Marvel Studios had followed their original plans and produced Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings as part of Phase 1 of the MCU. The film stars Simu Liu as the titular character, who must return to a life he left behind to face his father, Wenwu, played by Tony Leung, leader of the Ten Rings. The film was released on September 3rd to positive acclaim for its action, performances, and representation of Asian culture, earning a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings took critics and audiences by storm, earning a promising $8.8 million in opening night previews at the box office. The film is the latest installment in Phase 4 of the MCU and will pave the way for the future of the franchise. Despite this, the film has a long history spanning back to the early days of Phase 1, and Marvel Studio’s formation in 2005. Feige recently discussed what could have been if these early plans hadn’t fallen through.
In an interview with Screen Rant, Feige was asked about what the original plans for Shang-Chi might have been if he was part of Phase 1. The head of Marvel Studios and producer referred to the hero once being part of a wishlist of characters he’d like to bring to the big screen, comparing it to an interesting “what if” scenario. Despite this, Feige is ultimately pleased with how things worked out for the production, saying he is thankful he could make the film alongside director Destin Daniel Cretton and star Simu Liu. Read the full quote below:
“I don’t know. We had a wishlist and we still do – characters and stories that we’d love to bring to the screen – and Shang-Chi had been on that list for as long as I’ve been at Marvel, as were lots of other characters that we’ve now since brought to screen. I think it would’ve been different. It’s a good question, actually – a ‘what if’ scenario that is interesting to think about. But I don’t know is the answer, because this movie is the result of the people that made it. Would Destin [Daniel Cretton] have been able to make the movie? Would Simu [Liu] have starred in the movie if we made it 10 years ago? Of course not. So, like all of our movies, I’m lucky enough and very thankful that we made the movie when we did, so we could make it with the people that we did.”
Shang-Chi was part of Marvel’s initial plans for the MCU announced by then-Marvel chairman and CEO, Avi Arad, with the hero originally planned to debut in a post-credits scene for 2012’s The Avengers that would set up future appearances by the hero, according to a recent Reddit AMA with Liu. Despite these initial plans falling through, the film entered production in 2019, with Destin Daniel Cretton joining the project in March, Liu being cast in July, and the film starting production in Sydney, Australia in February 2020. Following a series of delays during production due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the film finally wrapped in October 2019.
Shang-Chi has finally made his big-screen debut following nearly two decades of development to much acclaim, with the hero setting the stage for the future of the MCU much like Iron Man did back in 2008. Feige has compared the film’s post-credits scene to Nick Fury’s universe expanding cameo, following previous comments that the characters of Shang-Chi will reappear soon in the MCU. With a strong positive reception, promising box office, and promises of the future, Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings has become a much loved, long-awaited, and integral part of a bold new era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.