Content Warning: This article contains references to racism and xenophobia
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is expanding to incorporate new superheroes from Phase Four. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the first movie to usher in this era, with the lead character, played by Simi Liu, gaining significant interest from movie fans.
This has naturally led to questions about the Shang-Chi character’s backstory, along with his appearances in other media. As the superhero is set to be a mainstay in the MCU, it’s best to brush up on all the points of interest about him since it’s more than likely that these will show up later in the series.
10 Who Created The Character?
While fans associate the majority of Marvel characters with Stan Lee, Shang-Chi has nothing to do with the comic book writer. His creators are credited as Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, although the two didn’t stay too long to continue working on the character.
The artists and writers were interested in the aspect of Kung Fu and wanted to incorporate it into their comics. With Starlin being responsible for creating the likes of Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, and Gamora, Shang-Chi shares a creator with a very esteemed number of characters.
9 Which Teams Has He Been A Part Of?
Up until his adaptation into the MCU, only comic books fans were aware of Shang-Chi despite the fact that he’s been a part of very well-known teams. It’s not known whether it will take place in live-action, but the comic book version of Shang-Chi has been a member of the Avengers.
However, that is far from the only faction he’s been affiliated with, as Shang-Chi has also been inducted in teams such as the Five Weapons Society, Agents of Atlas, Heroes for Hire, Protectors, Secret Avengers, Underground, Marvel Knights, MI-6, and Freelance Restorations.
8 What Other Media Have Adapted The Character?
One of the reasons why Shang-Chi hasn’t been mainstream before the MCU movie is the fact that the superhero hasn’t been represented much in other forms of media. As it is, fans can only find him in video games apart from the comics.
These are all fighter games featuring superhero team-ups, with Shang-Chi being a playable character in Marvel Duel, Marvel Contest of Champions, Marvel Strike Force, Marvel Puzzle Quest. He’s also an unlockable character in Marvel Future Fight and Marvel Super War. A playable skin of Shang-Chi has been made in Fortnite as well.
7 Which Alternate Versions Exist?
As it goes with every other character in the comics, there are multiple versions of the same person in different realities. Shang-Chi has been seen in several himself, being very different from one to the other and in comparison to the Earth-616 version.
These include the House of M reality Shang-Chi, who is the head of the Dragons criminal organization. Another notable incarnation is the Secret Wars Shang-Chi, a version that is the exiled son of an emperor who’s the Master of the Ten Rings. Lesser-important iterations are the Marvel Zombies, Ultimate Universe, and Earth-13584 Shang-Chis.
6 What Are His Powers?
The true capabilities of the character are something only comic book fans know about Shang-Chi, as he doesn’t have any powers on paper. His mastery of chi has empowered him to be among the greatest martial artists in the Marvel Universe, with Captain America, Spider-Man, and Wolverine all learning from Shang-Chi in Secret Avengers #9, The Amazing Spider-Man #664, and Wolverine: First Class #9, respectively.
His ability to dodge attacks has been so masterful that he’s beaten superpowered beings through his agility, while his expert skills in weapons like kali sticks, nunchaku, shuriken, and more have made for a deadly combination.
5 What Aliases Does He Go By?
Shang-Chi’s most popular moniker has been the “Master of Kung Fu” and his powers tie into this name. He’s also been known by a couple of other terms in his time, although these have been titles based on the designation.
In Shang-Chi #1, he found out that he was raised in the House of the Deadly Hand, which had given him the title of “Brother Hand.” After Shang-Chi was asked to return, he was made the leader of the Five Weapons Society and thereafter was known as the Supreme Commander or “Commander Hand.”
4 When Did He First Appear?
The release of the movie has been met with widespread praise by Shang-Chi fans on Twitter, with comic book readers pointing out that it’s been almost fifty years in the making. The character first appeared all the way back in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition #15.
In this story, Shang-Chi was introduced as the son of Fu Manchu, who was ordered by his father to kill a man his father claimed was a threat to peace. It’s after he carries out the assassination that he learns of Fu Manchu’s villainous nature and turns against him. However, the story was surrounded by many controversies after Jim Starlin was horrified to discover the racist history behind Fu Manchu’s character and how it fuelled xenophobia. This is particularly one of the reasons why Marvel has replaced the character with The Mandarin.
3 Who Are In His Immediate Family?
Having originally been introduced as the son of villain Fu Manchu, Shang-Chi’s familial history has been retconned a few times. In Secret Avengers #8, it was established that Fu Manchu was actually an immortal sorcerer who went by the name of Zheng Zu.
His mother’s identity has only be hinted at and not revealed even though she’s appeared in person, while Shang-Chi was shown to have a lot of half-siblings in the “Brothers and Sisters” arc. This included his sisters Zheng Shi-Hua, Zheng Bao Yu, Kwai Far, Esme, and Zheng Zhilan, along with brothers Moving Shadow, Brother Staff, Takeshi, and adoptive brother M-Nai.
2 Who Are Part Of His Rogues Gallery?
While the Mandarin is prominently featured as the baddie in the MCU for the superhero, the comics have several villains for Shang-Chi. His father, Zheng Zu, remains the most enduring villain for Shang-Chi, as he has also paved the way for more adversaries.
These include Shang-Chi’s siblings Midnight Sun, Moving Shadow, and Cursed Lotus, all of whom have gunned for him. Another persistent antagonist has been Razor-Fist, who joins the likes of the Mandarin as among Shang-Chi’s frequent foes.
1 What Was The Original Attempt To Make A Shang-Chi Film?
Interestingly, the MCU Shang-Chi movie could have been early in bringing the character to the big screen had early negotiations worked out. As far back as the 1980s, there were talks of a Shang-Chi film to star the actor Brandon Lee, with the option of a TV series also there.
Although these discussions were ultimately halted, partly due to Lee’s unfortunate demise, the idea was floated again in the mid-2000s, as directors like Ang Lee, Stephen Norrington, and Yeun Woo-Ping all briefly helmed the project before the movie was shelved again. It was after this point that Marvel reclaimed the rights to Shang-Chi.