SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS Writer Explains Why Wenwu Isn't "The Mandarin" You're Expecting
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will finally introduce us to The Mandarin, but one of the movie's writers has explained why that title doesn't necessarily fit Tony Leung’s Wenwu in the movie.
Since the villain was first teased in 2008's Iron Man, fans have been eagerly anticipating seeing The Mandarin make his presence felt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well, that's finally going to happen in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, but Tony Leung's Wenwu may not be the villain you're expecting.
While it's been clear from the start that Marvel Studios is looking to move away from the racial stereotypes that have plagued the comic book version of the character, it sounds like the "real" Mandarin (as opposed to the one we met in Iron Man 3, of course) doesn't necessarily even use that moniker here.
"Our version of the character is not The Mandarin in the way that people are expecting him to be," the movie's co-writer, Dave Callaham, tells Empire Online. "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."
That's a point reiterated by Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton, who explains that it was a priority to take a deeper dive into who Wenwu is as a fully formed character in the Phase 4 movie.
"It was for me the part of the Shang-Chi comics that I personally really connected to," Cretton says. "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."
This Mandarin might not be pulled straight from the pages of Iron Man's classic comic book adventures, but a deeper exploration into this villain in the MCU will be no bad thing. Both Callaham and Cretton have clearly given a lot of thought to how Wenwu should be portrayed in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and we're excited to see what he brings to this shared world next month.