Tony Leung’s WenWu/Mandarin in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is different from the comics and is a deeper character than perceived.
The Mandarin will be a deeper character in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Played by Tony Leung, Marvel Studios is finally introducing the real iteration of the Iron Man villain after the first hints at his existence in the One-Shot, All Hail The King. But instead of a comic book-accurate adaptation of the character, expect that he’ll be more complex and empathetic than his print counterpart.
As with the rest of the Phase 4 slate, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was announced at Marvel Studios’ San Diego Comic-Con Hall H Panel in 2019. It’s one of the few projects that will introduce some new players into the MCU, further opening up the universe. But aside from its titular character, who apparently almost debuted in The Avengers, there’s also high anticipation to seeing the real version of the Mandarin. This is after the villain’s fake-out introduction in Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, which remains to be one of the most divisive plot twists in the franchise. Now, however, the studio has the chance to make up for the disappointed fans who have been looking forward to him make his live-action debut.
For Empire Magazine‘s feature on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Co-writer David Callaham and director Destin Cretton preview what to expect from the impending introduction of the Mandarin who is named WenWu in the movie. Callaham teases that this version is “a much deeper character” than initially perceived. Meanwhile, Cretton reveals that they’ve been very careful not to make him into a stereotype, instead of focusing on the motivating factors for his actions. Read what they said about the film’s version of the character below:
Callaham: “Our version of the character is not The Mandarin in the way that people are expecting him to be.The Mandarin’ is a title that has been applied to him in the past by people that don’t understand his culture. But he’s a much deeper character than I think a lot of people would expect.”
Cretton: “It was for me the part of the Shang-Chi comics that I personally really connected to. It was really important for us to find the root of that anger and that pain. That was the goal from the get-go, and probably the number one fear of all of us was creating a Mandarin that was further contributing to the ‘Yellow Peril’ type of stereotypes that are still flying around.”
The marketing for Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings has prominently featured the Mandarin, but still, there’s very little known about him. Aside from his relationship with the titular hero and being the owner of the mythical Ten Rings, Marvel Studios is doing a great job keeping people intrigued without having to reveal pertinent information about him. It’s worth noting, however, that aside from his involvement in the present-day, he seems to also have been long in existence based on a shot of the character in Ancient Chinese garb and setting. Based on Callaham and Cretton’s new comments, chances are that the Mandarin will be a more dynamic player instead of a one-dimensional villain.
The question now is whether or not WenWu still has a future in the MCU beyond Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Given his long history, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of stories to be told about him, and some of those narratives could even be separate from the story of his son. In any case, MCU architect Kevin Feige said that the reason why they waited so long to introduce him is because they want to do right by him.
Source: Empire Magazine
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