Header Ads

How Marvel Making Shang-Chi The Mandarin's Son Changes His Story

Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings features Shang-Chi as the son of the Mandarin which changes his comic book origin story. While this is a new deviation from Shang-Chi's typical origins seen in Marvel Comics, this particular change to his story is rather interesting, seeing Shang-Chi grappling with his father's desire for him to join him and his organization known as the Ten Rings.

While Shang-Chi's father in the comics was originally Fu Manchu, rights complications and more problematic dynamics have led to Shang-Chi's story being retconned even in Marvel's comic book universe, and the new changes being made for the MCU seem to track better with changes that have made to the character even within the last year.

Related: Shang-Chi Cast & Character Guide: All New & Returning MCU Actors

That being said, the alterations to Shang-Chi's story have proven to be for the better, seeing the expert martial artist becoming so skilled as a fighter due to a relentless wish from the Mandarin to become the best, and to one day stand by his father's side commanding the Ten Rings. That being said, Shang-Chi's reluctance to join the Mandarin and choosing to embrace a new destiny than the one that's been chosen for him by his father is similar to his recent journey in the comics.

Very quickly in the film's first act, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings reveals that the titular hero is the son of the Mandarin. While he's been living on his own in San Francisco, it's revealed that the Mandarin allowed his son ten years to live his life, even though the Mandarin relentlessly trained Shang-Chi as a child to be the ultimate fighter, ensuring that the most dangerous foes wouldn't be able to kill him. Now, the Mandarin reveals that it's finally time for Shang-Chi to come home and join him and his terrorist organization known as the Ten Rings, first seen in 2008's Iron ManHaving his mind corrupted by the Dweller-in-Darkness, the Mandarin believes that his wife, Ying Li (Shang-Chi's mother, played by Fala Chen) is still alive, intending to save her even if he has to destroy her village known as Ta Lo, believing that they've taken her hostage. Realizing the truth, Shang-Chi and his sister decide to fight their father alongside Ta Lo's warriors, leading to Shang-Chi choosing a new path as a hero, rather than the one his father intended for him.

Mandarin's real name in the film is revealed as Wenwu (played by Tony Leung Chiu-wai) who's also confirmed to be the real Mandarin, rather than the fake version created by AIM and actor Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3 (played by Sir Ben Kingsley who is featured in the new film). Furthermore, the Ten Rings organization got their namesake from the actual Ten Rings, powerful weapons with mysterious origins Shang-Chi's father has wielded for thousands of years, similar to his comics counterpart in the comics.

Shang-Chi being the son of the Mandarin is a deviation from the martial artist's first origins in Marvel Comics, as he was originally the son of Fu Manchu, the villain created by novelist Sax Rohmer. At the time of Shang-Chi's inception in 1972, Marvel Comics still had the rights to Fu Manchu and his cast of characters, and Shang-Chi was created as a previously unknown son of Fu Manchu, existing within the world already created by Rohmer. However, Marvel lost the rights to Fu Manchu in 1983, though they kept Shang-Chi in the Marvel Universe as he was an original creation.

Related: The Mandarin’s Many Names Explained

It's just as well that Marvel Comics let go of the Fu Manchu franchise, as the character is generally seen as a racist caricature playing upon problematic stereotypes. Likewise, it's also good that Marvel Studios decided to opt for a different track with the Mandarin, albeit a new and more dynamic version seen in Shang-Chi that's not as problematic as the villain was originally conceived by Marvel Comics in 1964.

It should be noted that after the problematic Fu Manchu franchise went away in the '80s, Shang-Chi's father's true name was revealed in a 2010 retcon from writer Ed Brubaker, revealing that "Fu Manchu" was simply an alias for Zheng Zu, leader of the Five Weapons Society, an ancient order he had corrupted into a criminal organization bent on taking over the world. Likewise, Zu had trained his son to one day take his place as Supreme Commander of the Five Weapons Society, though Shang-Chi's time away to be a hero logically led him to refuse, not wanting any part of his father's organization or world.

This tracks rather well with Shang-Chi's new MCU origins, as Zheng Zu and the Five Weapons Society can be easily swapped for the Mandarin and the Ten Rings, adding weight to Shang-Chi's connection to the rest of the interconnected universe. The Mandarin and his organization are already recognized names in the MCU, despite being imitations and/or smaller branches of the Mandarin's greater operations seen prior to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Likewise, recent Shang-Chi comics from writer Gene Luen Yang have seen the death of Zheng Zu, leading to Shang-Chi grappling with his desire to stay out of his father's world that he left behind. However, Shang-Chi eventually chose to command the Five Weapons Society along with his estranged siblings, determined to turn the corrupt organization back into the force for good it was always meant to be. As such, it's possible that Shang-Chi's MCU journey after his first film could follow a similar track. For example, future tensions could be created due to his sister Xu Xialing having taken control of the Ten Rings after their father's death, rather than dismantling it like she claimed she was going to.

Related: Shang-Chi End-Credits Scenes Set Up 6 MCU Movies & Shows

The Mandarin being Shang-Chi's father is certainly a new development that changes the kung fu hero's traditional comics story, though it's certainly better than having his father be Fu Manchu. Likewise, the Mandarin and the Ten Rings have much more name recognition and familiarity for mainstream audiences to get behind, rather than Zheng Zu and the Five Weapons Society.

As far as the overall impact this new change creates for Shang-Chi's origins, it doesn't seem to affect his core characterization all that much, and it certainly seems to be for the better. Shang-Chi's new MCU origins now resemble his more recent arcs in the comics, particularly his reluctance to re-embrace the struggles and face a world he's long turned away from. However, while there's a lot that's fresh for the character with some engaging changes, the conflict with his father as the Mandarin is certainly one of the biggest new elements to his story that makes the film so engaging and exciting.

Next: Shang-Chi Does More Than Just Repeat Marvel's Usual Father Problems

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.