Stan Lee was not just a prominent author at Marvel Comics, he was trying to mount audiovisual projects around the brand’s superheroes and among them a certain … Shang-Chi.
In 1973, Marvel publishes the first comic book devoted to Shang-Chi, and will follow ten years of popularity for the superhero adept of wushu. It was during this glorious period that Stan Lee tried to put together a film featuring this new character.
Remember that the 70s and early 80s saw the proliferation of cinema screens and soon in VHS stores heaps of “kung fu films”. Lee smacks of the right deal and is considering a movie or even a series. To embody the young hero, he has in mind Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee!
It is not a coincidence since in 1974, the designer Paul Gulacy had based Shang-Chi on the physique of Bruce Lee. A meeting is organized in the offices of Marvel between Brandon and Stan Lee, who do not know each other!
Margaret Loesch, former CEO of Marvel Productions and co-creator of the animated series X-Men, told Reverse :
Stan firmly believed that movies and series based on [super-héros] could become very popular. I can’t remember what happened, I believe maybe we went to ask the channels and they weren’t interested because of the violence.
So there could have been a series on television to succeed Kung Fu with David Carradine, with Brandon Lee in the role of Shang-Chi. Small disappointment, Stan Lee, who died in 2018, will not have lived long enough to make his traditional cameo in the Marvel Studios feature film that was so close to his heart.
Today, the character finally has his first movie adventure, but it hasn’t all been rosy for him, as Marvel has been close to releasing a movie with him, but again, it’s going to fail before it comes to fruition.
Shang-Chi at Dreamworks
In 2001, the Shang-Chi film project was seriously relaunched. After Blade, this film was to mark the new Marvel project of director Stephen Norrington. At the time, it was the Dreamworks studio that developed this The Hands of Shang-Chi, like a whole collection of comics devoted to the Asian superhero.
After the abandonment of Norrington to go do The Last Minute, the Chinese actor-director Woo-Ping Yuen who began his career as a director with Jackie Chan (The Shadow of the Serpent, The Chinese Master) then Bia Yuen ( The Magnificent Hero, White Tiger) replaces him.
Despite a screenplay signed Bruce C. McKenna (Brothers in Arms, The Inferno of the Pacific) and Ang Lee in production following the release of Hulk (2003), the project will never come to fruition and Shang-Chi will return to the fold. from Marvel Studios. 17 years later, the film is finally here, and in theaters.