Marvel Almost Gave MCU's Shang-Chi a Brother With a Monster Secret

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Shang-Chi Movie Background Desktop

Marvel Studios opened the door to an entirely new dimension of the MCU with the September debut of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

The franchise's first Asian-led movie brought thrills from beginning-to-end thanks to Simu Liu and his co-stars, which led to the biggest Labor Day weekend release of any film ever and continuing to rake in the dollars worldwide.

Along with the expectedly excellent martial arts sequences that set a new MCU standard, the franchise's twenty-fifth movie delivered a story about family - most notably tackling the difficult relationship between Shang-Chi, his sister, and his father

After living most of his adult life in the United States and forging his own path, this family dynamic played a key role in helping Simu Liu's leading character discover his true identity. However, the masterminds behind the scenes recently revealed that there were other scrapped ideas for the family drama. 

Shang-Chi Almost Had a Different Sibling


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton and co-writer Dave Callaham spoke with Yahoo Entertainment on alternate storylines in the movie that didn't come to fruition.

When asked if there were any plots or characters that had to be cut, Callaham mentioned a version of the Marvel character Lyco Wu that almost made it into the plot before ultimately being scrapped.

In the end, the filmmakers came to the decision that he "didn’t fit the tone of the movie," even though many fans may have been familiar with him:

"The first draft had Lyco Wu in it, which I only just remembered fairly recently because I saw an article about all the stuff that’s still on the table if there’s another movie, and I was like ‘Oh, we did do that at one point.’ It didn’t fit the tone of the movie ultimately at all, but that’s a character that’s from the publishing that some people are familiar with."

Cretton followed up with a tease of Shang-Chi having a brother in the movie rather than his sister Xialing. He even hinted that early versions of the story had this brother turning into some kind of unspecified monster:

"I mean, at one point, there was a moment when Shang-Chi had a brother that was left behind with Dad rather than a sister. That was early on. And there’s inspirations from the comics for that character. And I think the brother, like, turned into a monster at one point."

In the end, Callaham simply raved at being able to suggest any ideas that came to mind with Marvel, although he mentioned producer Jonathan Schwartz "(pulling them) back" at times from some of the weirder stuff.

All of it contributed toward a balance between what worked on screen and being able to "let the team explore" at the right moment as well:

"We were doing some pretty weird stuff at the beginning before Jonathan kind of pulled us back. He knows the world. I think Destin and I, when we got there, were like ‘We can do anything! It’s Marvel!’ No idea was off the table to begin with, to be honest, which was really cool of Marvel, to let the team explore a little bit, and then eventually they tell you ‘You can’t do that, that’s too crazy’ or ‘We’re doing that somewhere else, but we can’t talk about it,’ that kind of thing."

Shang-Chi's Brother Never Came to Be

Shang-Chi's sister Xialing played a key role throughout the hero's first solo movie from the time they met at her underground fight club until her mysterious post-credits scene at the end. As she tagged along to Ta Lo with Shang-Chi, Katy, and even Trevor Slattery, it became clear that her presence would have a profound impact on Simu Liu's journey to becoming an Avenger.

While the central hero having a brother may have been a little different solely in terms of gender, Cretton seemed to have some wild plans for what became of him after he was left behind with his father Wenwu.

The simple idea is that he could have become one of the Soul Eaters' victims like Death Dealer; although, with so many mythical creatures in the film, it's hard to say whether this brother could have turned into something that didn't make it to the screen at all.

Whatever the case may be, it's exciting nonetheless that this idea made it on the board, and it could be something explored in the future of the Shang-Chi franchise as well.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently playing in theaters and will arrive on Disney+ on November 12

Release Date
September 03, 2021
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.