Marvel’s “Shang-Chi” and “Eternals” May Not Release in China?

Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the first Hollywood superhero film to feature a predominantly Asian cast, starring Simu Liu (劉思慕), Tony Leung (梁朝偉), Awkwafina (林家珍), Michelle Yeoh (楊紫瓊), and Fala Chen (陳法拉). Although Shang-Chi will be releasing in North America on September 3, the film may not release in China.

A recent broadcast of CCTV 6’s China Film Channel, which showcased upcoming American films to be released in theaters, did not include Shang-Chi. The other Marvel hero movie, Eternals, which is opening in November 5 in North America, was also left out of the announcement. As there are strict quotas over the number of new foreign films versus domestic films opening, this led to speculation that China has blocked the release of both Shang-Chi and Eternals in local theaters.

To appease the Chinese market, Marvel changed Tony Leung’s character from Mandarin to Wenwu, hoping to separate the character from its racial caricatures in the original comics. However, many Mainlanders still saw it as the same character. Furthermore, they disagreed with the casting of Simu Liu and Awkwafina, whom they felt were unattractive and represented the “stereotyped look” of Chinese people among Westerners.

As for Eternals, Chinese director Chloe Zhao (趙婷) was perceived to possess an anti-China view when she identified herself as an American and criticizing China for being “full of lies.” The director’s outspoken disapproval of China has even led to the banning of her other film, Nomadland. When Chloe Zhao became the first female Asian director to win the Academy Award, many of the major Chinese media outlets were oddly silent.

Though there have not been official announcements, early signs indicate that Shang-Chi and Eternals may not release in Chinese theaters, which would the first Marvel films to run into these roadblocks despite the box-office breaking records of the Avengers franchise and other superhero films.


This article is written by Huynh for

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  1. Losing China is a huge market, it’s a pity because most of their people will pirate the movies otherwise.

  2. I, for one, am glad they casted Simu Liu and not some plasticy, feminine looking guy that’s stereotypical of Chinese films. God forbid they wanted a person who can actually act. Same with a
    Awkwafina. Glad they went with her to play the good friend instead of some generic looking girl from Chinese showbiz who can’t act. I for one am excited for this film. It’s just too bad some people in China have already predetermined to hate this film before its even out. Guess Transformers and Pacific Rim are what they should continue to stick to.

  3. While Simu and Awkfina aren’t the prettiest people in showbiz, boycotting it b/c of the lead’s looks doesn’t exaclty justify why they are passing on the show. there are other descent looking people like fala and tony, don’t overlook these supporting characters. i think the biggest issue is really w/ the director. it was a big deal when she made her statements.

  4. It will take a century or so for mainlanders to evolve enough to understand how to appreciate a movie that’s not cast with a bunch of feminine looking men lol.

    1. @chena funny, but mainlanders who disdain girly boys are considered homophobic toxic males by western fans of BL dramas.

  5. > Simu Liu and Awkwafina, whom they felt were unattractive and represented the “stereotyped look” of Chinese people among Westerners.
    Wow. I’m at a loss for words. These two have broken the stereotypes time and time again with their achievements and this is their excuse for not showing a MCU movie…

  6. Viewing as an audience, it doesn’t really matter these days since everything is online. It’s just a matter of time when you can see it…
    Hopefully, it won’t be like Mulan, with more westerners than Asians. It was so difficult to watch.

  7. Yeah f the big 6. Granted I think Daniel wu would actually have made a better looking Shang chi but only because I’m very familiar with the comic book version of how he looks. But I know simu will be good in it. Awkifina will be her typical self but that’s ok.

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