Shang-Chi Creator: There’s “More Communication” with Marvel on Ten Rings Than There Was with Thanos on Avengers

Shang-Chi co-creator Jim Starlin says there's "more communication" with Marvel Studios on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings than there was with Starlin's creation Thanos on Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Until 2015, the Kevin Feige-ran Marvel Studios was subject to input from the Marvel Creative Committee, a group of consultants that included former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, then Marvel Comics publisher Dan Buckley, comic book author Brian Michael Bendis and then-Marvel Entertainment president Alan Fine. The committee was dissolved after a frustrated Feige commanded a split from then-Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, resulting in a restructuring that saw an emancipated Feige report directly to Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.

"No. Marvel has always had sort of a Chinese wall between the comics and the movie people, set up by some of the comic people who went over to work at the movies and didn't want other comic book people following, basically," Starlin said at Comic Con Paris when asked if he was involved with Infinity War, where Thanos enjoyed a sizable role as co-lead alongside Thor (Chris Hemsworth), or Endgame, where Thanos served as the driving threat.

"It's sort of breaking down now. [Directors Anthony and Joe Russo] only contacted me as they were finishing Infinity War and asked me to come in and do that cameo for Endgame," Starlin added. "There's more communication now between the comic book people and the movie people. I can't say much more than that at this point, but there's more communication on Shang-Chi than there was on Thanos."

Starlin, who created the Master of Kung-Fu with Steve Englehart in 1973's Special Marvel Edition #15, previously told he expects Legend of the Ten Rings to serve as an origin story for the Chinese superhero.

"I can't imagine them starting off with anything but an origin story because you got to begin somewhere," Starlin said, adding the movie might be "loosely based" on his work with Englehart across Special Marvel Edition issues #15 through #17.

Shang-Chi, to be played by Canadian actor Simu Liu in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is an expert martial artist and master of kung-fu whose physical prowess makes him one of the deadliest fighters in the Marvel universe.

In the Marvel Comics, the character's martial arts mastery is compounded by the channeling of chi, allowing Shang-Chi to strike with near superhuman force. Recent iterations of the character have seen Shang-Chi wield the uncanny ability to produce duplications of himself.


Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12, Just Mercy) and starring Liu, Awkwafina and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens February 12, 2021.