For now, Thanos will remain Jim Starlin's only ticket to Marvel Cinematic Universe screen time. Starlin created the Mad Titan which prompted the Russo Brothers to give him a call and invite him to the set to appear early in Avengers: Endgame. As Marvel Studios gears up to tell a story about another character which Starlin helped co-create, the Eisner Award Hall of Famer won't be putting his acting chops on the screen again. Starlin co-created Shang-Chi with Steve Englehart but due to the unexpected circumstances which plagued 2020, Starlin was not able to take a trip to Australia to appear in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Starlin joined ComicBook.com's Phase Zero podcast on Friday's live show (which is available now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify), where co-host Jamie Jirak asked Starlin if we will see him in the Shang-Chi movie. "No, not with the COVID today," Starlin explained. "The COVID and the fires in Australia and they couldn't get back into Australia. I don't think it was ever considered. I'd love to do a cameo, but you're not going to see me in Shang-Chi, I'm afraid."
Sadly, Starlin has not had a chance to met Shang-Chi star Simu Liu or director Destin Daniel Cretton just yet. "I was supposed to meet with the director back in San Diego the year before last but we never connected up," Starlin explains. "There was a mix up in the scheduling so I'm coming in just like everybody else. I have no idea what's going on."
Starlin does have plenty of ideas for what he wants to see from Shang-Chi on the big screen, though, as some of the character's defining elements from the early days in Marvel Comics are some of Starlin's favorite. "The transition from basically assassin to a hero, an indomitable will, and a sort of religious discipline, basically," Starlin says. "I think those are the three elements that make Shang-Chi more than any other character. He's basically focused on the moment and what has to be done. That focus allows him to go on without being stopped, making it very hard to stop him at least."
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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently set to hit theaters on July 9, 2021.