One major concern Chinese audiences have had with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the titular character's connection to Fu Manchu. It's been such a concern that it has risked the film not being released in China despite the character not appearing in it.
Fu Manchu was originally Shang-Chi's father in the comics, but that has been changed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, Shang-Chi's father will be The Mandarin, who will instead go by the name of Wenwu in this film.
In a new interview, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige addressed this controversy and other concerns from Chinese audiences regarding Shang-Chi.
KEVIN FEIGE ADDRESSES CHINESE AUDIENCE CONCERNS
In an interview (via Youtube) with Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging website, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige answered questions about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and the controversies surrounding the film in China.
One controversy that has Chinese audiences concerned is Shang-Chi's connections to the racist caricature of Fu Manchu who, in the comics, was his father.
Kevin Feige responded to that concern by making it clear that not only was Fu Manchu never a Marvel-owned character, but that "Fu Manchu is not in [Shang-Chi] in any way, shape, or form:"
"That is one of the truths about the early comic books, that Fu Manchu was a part of that story in the early comics. Fu Manchu is not a Marvel character. Fu Manchu is not a character we own or would ever want to own and that was changed in the comics many, many years ago and we never had any intention of doing that in this movie. Fu Manchu is not in this movie in any way, shape, or form."
Feige reiterated the character being an "offensive figure," and he hopes audiences will see his lack of appearance or acknowledge him in any way:
"I think it's important for people to know that and understand that and when they see the movie, that will certainly be the proof, but that is such an offensive figure and was never anything we had any interest in doing."
One aspect of the film Feige is looking forward to is fans seeing themselves in Shang-Chi as a hero and it "inviting people into our world:"
"We want heroes that look like all of our fans around the world and heroes our fans can look up to and feel that wish-fulfillment to want to be a part of and it's about inviting people into our world, not keeping people out of it or keeping people separate from it."
The interviewer asked who Shang-Chi's father will be in the film if it isn't Fu Manchu, to which Feige answered that "Shang-Chi's father is a new character created for this movie" named Wenwu, played by Tony Leung:
"Shang-Chi's father is a new character created for this movie, whose name is Wenwu and the most exciting thing about it is he's played by one of the greatest actors in the world, Tony Leung."
Feige went as far to "almost not even call [him] a villain" and that the story is about "love between a father and a son:"
And that's what really sets it apart from any of the characters from any of our other movies is that this is a very unique character that you can almost not even call a villain. This is a story of love between a father and a son, but misunderstanding and conflict and that’s what we’re anxious for people to see in this movie between these two amazing actors."
One more concern that was brought up by the interviewer was Shang-Chi abandoning "his Chinese roots" in lieu of Western culture.
Feige made it clear that "with all of our Marvel Cinematic Universe films, we often change stories from the comics" and that Shang-Chi killing his father, an element from Marvel Comics, won't be adapted:
"As with all of our Marvel Cinematic Universe films, we often change stories from the comics. That's certainly one of the elements that we've changed. There is conflict between them."
Feige also explained that while there is still conflict between Shang-Chi and his father, it's about him returning to his roots, confronting his father, and not just running from them:
What this movie is about is a hero who did have conflict with his father and his father's legacy as he was growing up and wanted to run from that. The movie is about him returning to it and learning the deeper truths about what happened when he was a child and who his father really is."
HISTORY OF FU MANCHU
Fiege is correct that Marvel never owned the character of Fu Manchu, only licensing him from English novelist Sax Rohmer who created the character in 1912. Marvel Comics only adapted Fu Manchu as a character in 1973 but subsequently lost the license to the name years later.
It led to the character being renamed as Han for some time before ultimately changing to Zheng Zu in Ed Brubaker's Secret Avengers in 2010, which it remains to this day. As for Shang-Chi having killed his father, that actually never happened in the primary line of comics.
At most, Shang-Chi mentioned having seen his father crushed to death in Secret Avengers, but it was never implied that Shang-Chi killed him. However, another mini-series depicted an alternate universe where Shang-Chi killed his father by turning him to stone.
Regardless, it seems that Feige has inadvertently confirmed that Shang-Chi will not be killing his father in this film, but that doesn't mean he won't be dying at all. Fans will have to find out for themselves when they see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theaters on September 3, 2021.