Master martial artist Shang-Chi very nearly entered the MCU way back in 2012, during a post-credits sting in The Avengers.
The comic book character is finally reaching the big screen next year in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but in Chris Fenton's book Feeding the Dragon, it's revealed that Marvel Studios pitched his potential introduction in the world's biggest movie at the time.
Via CBR, the former DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group President wrote: "They did offer us the opportunity to create a teaser at the end of Avengers for the China market. That would give us a chance to tease a potential character, either The Mandarin or Shang-Chi."
Explaining the studio's decision to feature neither character in the end – opting for the shawarma scene instead – he noted: "The development team in Beijing felt Shang-Chi was the safer role to promote since he was a 'good guy' and a hero, while The Mandarin was clearly a nemesis to Iron Man.
"Strictly thinking about how the 'Ministry of Propaganda,' which reports directly to the Politburo, would view it, you always wanted the Chinese character to be a good guy or a hero, not a villain," he continued.
Apparently, the "hubris" and "ignorance" of the US creatives meant that most Chinese characters were presented as antagonists.
Fenton continued: "Hollywood didn't want to waste the part of a hero on a Chinese actor. But a villain role? No big deal. And simply putting Chinese people in a film was mistakenly thought of as the guaranteed price for admission to China's lucrative market."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be out in cinemas on May 7, 2021.
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