Will Marvel Be Successful in Depicting “Shang-Chi’s” The Mandarin in a Culturally Sensitive Manner?

After Marvel Studios confirmed that Hong Kong actor Tony Leung (梁朝偉) will be playing as the supervillain The Mandarin in Shang-Chi: Legend of The Ten Rings, many Mainland Chinese netizens expressed displeasure at his role and claimed it was outright insulting.

Created by British author Sax Rohmer and fostered by ideologies of the Yellow Peril in the early 1900s, Fu Manchu was a criminal and represented the Chinese as evil and dangerous to Western society. Marvel later acquired rights to the character and even introduced him as Shang-Chi’s father in the comic books. In 1980, Marvel rewrote Fu Manchu as The Mandarin when Chinese Americans boycotted the character due to its racist origins.

With The Mandarin originating from Fu Manchu, many Mainland netizens were outraged that Tony Leung agreed to the role. Mainland netizens criticized the actor as driven by greed and some asserted they will boycott the Marvel film. They commented, “Is Tony Leung out of money? Throwing face away because of money!”; “If he actually considered Chinese fans, then shouldn’t he know to avoid the role?”; “Tony Leung must be crazy about becoming an international star!” A netizen also claimed that The Mandarin carries the same insulting nature as referring to a black person as “nigger”.

Despite the initial outrage, some believe that Marvel will handle The Mandarin’s character in a culturally sensitive manner given the importance of the Chinese box office. The team behind Shang-Chi also include Chinese-American Destin Daniel Cretton and Japanese-American screenwriter David Callaham.

Shang-Chi is slated for release in February 2021.

Source: hket

This article is written by Minna for JayneStars.com.

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  1. Some Chinese are absolutely retarded. The MCU doesn’t even follow Marvel Comics to the tee. They change stories and back stories all of the time to keep up with times. Some Chinese nationalists really have nothing better to do than to complain. If you’ve been following MCU from the start, they’ve changed back stories of characters often, sometimes their story progression in the movie doesn’t even align with the comics. Otherwise it would be pointless to watch MCU movies if everything falls together exactly with the comic version.

    1. @anon
      If a white producer does a new version of Stepin Fetchit you can be sure ‘retarded’ black americans would be screaming bloody murder.

    2. @anon You crazy dawg. If this movie ain’t depicted in a ‘culturally sensitive manner”, not just Chinese, but Asian-Americans (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, etc) would be up complaining (and rightfully so).

  2. It speaks more about the insecurity of Mainland Chinese people than MCU. Instead of embracing a potentially mega successful movie that will finally highlight Chinese actors, they just are more concern about their own image.

    We need a voice outside of China and the only way to get it is to take risks and get noticed. Beating up on our own is not the way to do it.

    1. @kinner
      No, it’s not a matter of ‘insecurity’ to speak out against racist stereotypes.
      Those who are bigots and the self-hating Chinese would embrace yellow-peril type images with the apologist rationale of “highlighting” Chinese actors. Being meek and docile about racist depictions which beat up your own in order to get Hollywood approval is not the way to do it.

      1. @msxie0714
        Your attitude is something that is holding us all back. Let’s separate stereotypes and racist action. They are and can be mutually exclusive.

        For example, all Asian know martial arts is a stereotype but it is not a racist sentiment.

        In contrast, your thought process and comments are strong indication of your racist discrimination against white.

      2. @kinner

        Who’s playing the race victimization card now? your insecurity shows by your reaction to those who aren’t willing to be meek and subservient to racist depictions.

      3. @kinner “For example, all Asian know martial arts is a stereotype but it is not a racist sentiment.”
        Then what’s your take on: All blacks know how to dance (or rap)?

  3. im very proud that tony have take this role as mandarin. tony is a hongkong star a hongkong legend, he dont represent china but hongkong, hong kong is not china. tony rarely act as a villain so im really excited to see his portraying as mandarin.

  4. China fans needn’t to worry. This is MCU we are talking about. They will find a way to make The Mandarin inoffensive to China. They do want China’s money.

    Secondly, from that picture of the The Mandarin posted with this article, he doesn’t seem Fu Manchu-like or give off any vibe of yellow peril. So, he must have evolved a lot since his debut.

    I read some comments in cbr forum. Seem that The Mandarin is very badass. The fans there hope the MCU Mandarin will be a combination of Zheng Yi (formerly known as Fu Manchu) and The Mandarin, since Zheng Yi is a genius while the Mandarin has great power (ten rings and big organisation under him).

    1. @kidd

      It’s ok to have a Chinese villain as long as he’s not depicted like the racist and hideous caricature of FuManchu.

  5. I watch the comic-con video. When Kevin Feige announced that Tony Leung will play the Mandarin, there are loud claps. The fans like him. 🙂

    1. @kidd

      Yup, I watched the same video too. I was surprised that most of the comic con fans know who Tony Leung is unless you’ve been following his films for decades because let’s be honest here, most of his recent work pales in comparison to his earlier work.

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