‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’: Tony Leung’s Wenwu is an MCU Original Take on the Mandarin

shang-chi mandarin

After a long wait, we finally got our first look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Asian-American superhero, Shang-Chi. Chinese-Canadian Simu Liu will take on the role that introduced the world to the Ten Rings. They were a consistent part of the MCU since its inception back in 2008. Of course, it means that we’ll also meet the organization’s leader, the Mandarin.

It looks like they might be taking a new direction for the villain from 1964’s Tales of Suspense #50. In the recent coverage by Entertainment Weekly, we got a few details on Tony Leung‘s mysterious character. He was formerly announced as Wenwu and teased to be the Mandarin. Yet, the recent interview may hint at a new approach to the iconic comic villain.

They confirm that Wenwu is technically an original character for the film. As such, he isn’t a direct adaptation of the iconic character, who has gone through various aliases, such as Gene Khan or Zhang Tong. Producer Jonathan Schwartz and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige hint that he has gone through many names. Mandarin is just one of many. Director Destin Daniel Cretton pointed to how Leung brought a new level to the character’s portrayal. 

A character like Wenwu could have easily been a one-dimensional villain with no heart. Tony opened this character up [so] this is an antagonist who has a deep ability to love

Schwartz confirms that their approach to the character was to add more complexity. They didn#t want him to get shackled by its comic roots. The just dropped trailer offered some small glimpses at Wenwu. It even includes a comic-accurate inspired depiction of the original character. Shang-Ch wasn’t related to the Mandarin in the comics, as he was the son of the rather controversial Fu Manchu. Family drama will remain at the core of Shang-Chi‘s story, and it’ll be interesting to see how the legacy of the Mandarin may get expanded in the MCU. If you haven’t had the chance, check out the recent trailer release.

Source: Entertainment Weekly, Twitter

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