The Avengers turned out to be a colossal hit, and it completely changed the framework of Hollywood. The Superhero Genre became lit, and almost every Studio began to look at the cinematic universe model that the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought to light. Before The Avengers, we had seen other superhero team-up films such as X-Men & Fantastic Four, but none of them had the impact that The Avengers did. That’s because Marvel introduced almost every one of the Avengers one by one with solo films. So, people were familiar with every team member and it really meant something when they Assembled. The OG 6 Avengers became a huge deal after that. The ending of The Avengers teased Thanos as the ultimate big bad of the MCU. But, did you know that they almost brought another hero into the mix?
Diversity in the cast & the characters only got into full flow with Phase 3. But even now (as Anthony Mackie believes), the MCU is not as big on representing all sorts of diverse cultures & norms. Although, they will fully embrace diversity with Phase 4 as Black Widow brings a few Russian characters into play, The Eternals will mostly represent the entire world, and then Shang-Chi will explore the Asian side of things, really giving the Chinese audience a hero that they could wholeheartedly support.
Talking about Shang-Chi, he doesn’t seem to be a big deal right now, as he is an even more unfamiliar character for the general audience than The Eternals are. He might become a major character when his film comes out next year in May. But, if things would’ve gone differently in Phase 1 & Phase 2, then we would’ve already seen Shang-Chi in the MCU.
As a marketing stunt to make The Avengers popular in China, Marvel thought that they should introduce a Chinese character towards the end of the film. The choices were between The Mandarin & Shang-Chi, although Marvel preferred Shang-Chi over the Mandarin. This little information came from the former president of the Chinese-based DMG Entertainment Motion Picture Group, Chris Fenton. Bleeding Cool reports that in Fenton’s newly released book called Feeding The Dragon, his work on trying to get Hollywood blockbusters in China has been recalled. Apparently, Marvel Studios Chief Operating Officer Tim Connors offered DMG a chance to introduce Shang-Chi or the Mandarin through a teaser at the very end of The Avengers.
Here’s how it is mentioned in the book:
“There was some good news from Connors,” I started. “Assuming we pony up more money, 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. It’s our decision as to which.”
But ultimately, DMG passed on the offer. So, just like the rest of the world, China saw the same “Shawarma Scene” & the “Thanos scene” after the credits rolled. But still, if they would’ve taken the offer, then they would’ve surely gone for Shang-Chi. Since Shang-Chi is a hero, it would’ve represented China as good. They wouldn’t have chosen the Mandarin because then The Avengers would’ve given a plain and simple message stating “China-Bad!” That could’ve led to the Chinese government banning The Avengers from Chinese markets. No one would’ve wanted that.
If Shang-Chi would’ve been introduced in The Avengers, then he would’ve had an appearance in Phase 2 & beyond. Perhaps we might have seen a couple of solo Shang-Chi movies by now. But anyway, it’s okay that Shang-Chi wasn’t introduced back then and a fake Mandarin was brought in Iron Man 3. Right now is a better time to introduce Shang-Chi as Marvel is looking to really expand. And he can even use all the hype that comes with the introduction of the “Real Mandarin.”
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has restarted production in Australia and Marvel is sure that it will be able to make its May 7, 2021 deadline. How excited are you for Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi? Would you have preferred it if Shang-Chi was introduced in The Avengers? Tell us in the comments down below.