In 2018, audiences proved that diversity is not only a good thing to do, but it can also lead to huge profits.
After taking a chance on a superhero film with 90% of the speaking roles going towards black actors, Marvel Studios saw Black Panther, rake in $1.3 billion global and over $700 million domestically (only the 3rd movie to do so domestically). With such a positive response on creating a film specifically targeting an underrepresented segment, Marvel Studios is now fast tracking another past hit with the upcoming project Shang-Chi
According to the Hollywood Reporter, “Shang-Chi — or, as Marvel refers to him, the Master of Kung Fu — debuted in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition No. 15, created by Steve Englehart and Thanos creator Jim Starlin after an attempt to acquire the comic book rights to the television series Kung Fu fell through. The son of infamous pulp villain Fu Manchu, Shang-Chi was trained as a martial artist assassin by his father, only to rebel against him and become a superhero instead. The character was a massive success through the 1970s, and was recently revived as a member of the Avengers during 2012’s Marvel Now! Publishing event.”
The man selected to write for the project is David Callaham. Callaham has previous experience with his involvement in the unreleased Wonder Woman sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, The Expendables franchise, and upcoming Zombieland 2.
It will be interesting to see what kind of response the film will receive over the long haul and how Shang-Chi will fit in the overall Marvel narrative, but with Marvel signaling a willing to invest in diverse stories for film, this could mean a ton of opportunities for minorities and women moving forward, which is great news.