The Marvel Cinematic Universe has always thrived on taking well-defined genres and fusing them with superhero cinema – from the heist tropes of Ant-Man, to the political thriller inspiration on Captain America: The Winter Soldier. And with the first trailer for the upcoming Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, Marvel showed that it’s taking direction from East Asian action cinema, with flashes of action sequences featuring martial arts brawls and epic wire-work fights. As the film tasked with introducing Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi – Marvel Studios’ first Asian superhero – not only to the MCU but to audiences worldwide, director Destin Daniel Cretton (previously behind Short Term 12 and Just Mercy) was determined to do it right.
“Authenticity and respect and staying true to this genre was the main objective from day one,” he tells Empire in the new issue. That meant drawing from the greats. “There’s choreography that’s reminiscent of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other fight scenes are inspired by Jackie Chan. We also had choreographers from mainland China who created some beautiful wuxia-style fight scenes.” Here’s an exclusive new image from the film, as seen in Empire’s upcoming British New Wave issue.
While we see in the trailer that Shang-Chi can more than handle himself in a fight, Cretton suggests that there’s more to Phase 4’s latest hero too. “It was important for us from the beginning to have the MCU’s first Asian-American superhero be a superhero,” he says. “We want him to be on par with other superheroes in the MCU and not just be the master of kung fu. Shang-Chi is an incredible martial artist, but he’s so much more than that.”
Read Empire’s full Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings story in the July issue, on sale Thursday 10 June, and available to pre-order online here. Shang-Chi is expected to arrive in UK cinemas from 3 September.