Marvel is looking to cast a Chinese actor to play its first Asian superhero, Shang-Chi. Variety’s Justin Kroll broke the news earlier this week.
The move to avoid the whitewashing controversy that doomed Hellboy is a good one. In that movie, Ed Skein withdrew from the role and was replaced by Daniel Dae Kim.
It’s a controversy that the movie studio did not need. They already have the challenge of taking an historically racist character and turning it into a modern day superhero with today’s cultural sensitivity.
The Master of Kung Fu came from the yellow peril era, according to Geek Twins. The character is the son of Fu Man Chu, a sinister character that perpetuated the evil foreigner stereotype of Asians as a person who should never be trusted. Shang-Chi also is subservient, another stereotype of Asian men as weak and timid.
To lead the project, the studio has brought in Destin Daniel Cretton to direct. Cretton was born in Hawaii. Cretton plans to reinvent the character.
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