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A 'Shang-Chi' movie has apparently been part of Kevin Feige's MCU master plan for almost 20 years

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Benedict Wong on Joining the Cast of Marvel's 'Shang-Chi'
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As Kevin Feige has said before, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (out next month) has deep ties to Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, it was the Ten Rings who kidnapped Tony Stark in Afghanistan all those years ago, thus kicking off a new age of heroes. But if the Marvel Studios boss is to be believed, a standalone Shang-Chi project has been stewing in his brain since long before 2008.

Speaking with Empire for the magazine's September 2021 issue, Feige recalled his early days as a young and wide-eyed producer at Marvel Studios in the early 2000s. It was during this time that he jotted down a list of characters he thought could help build what he never imagined would become a multi-billion dollar film franchise of interconnected comic book projects.

Shang-Chi was on that list, though the MCU mastermind clammed up when pressed for specifics about who else made the cut. "I can't remember how many titles were on there. But [it was] 20 or so," Feige remembered. "So many of the titles we identified early on was with the hope that we could do all sorts of different films, starring all sorts of different types of people. And for the last five years, we've been actively working on bringing the film to life."

So, if The Legend of the Ten Rings has been gestating for the better part of two decades, what's taken so long for the master of martial arts to make his silver screen debut? Empire points to speculation that Marvel and Disney, emboldened by the massive success of 2018's Black Panther, decided to capitalize on diversity. Feige, however, shot down this line of thinking during his conversation with the British entertainment magazine.

"I think it bolstered our confidence and our belief, but we were heading that way already," he explained. "I remember seeing a viral video when the Black Panther poster first came out. It was some young men in a movie theater overwhelmed with excitement at seeing this poster, and it was moving because people were excited about the movie we were making. But it was also a harsh realization that they were reacting that way because they had not seen it before. So, Black Panther really coalesced the notion of, 'Everybody deserves to see themselves portrayed in these larger-than-life ways."

Shang-Chi will kick some serious booty when the film lands in theaters Friday, Sep. 3. According to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, it will play exclusively on the big screen for a period of 45 days before landing on Disney+.

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