Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has opened up about the importance of the scene with Katy’s grandmother in Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings. Starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, and Tony Leung, Shang-chi represents the first Asian-directed superhero film in the MCU, and the film aims to break down barriers with its representation of the Asian community in Hollywood. So far, the film has received overwhelmingly positive reviews, and is currently on its way to breaking the record for the highest grossing national premiere box office over Labor Day weekend.
The film sees Liu’s eponymous hero dragged back to the secret world of the Ten Rings organization, accompanied by his best friend Katy (Awkwafina). The two are shown to have an incredibly close friendship, and Shang often sits down to breakfast with Katy’s family. In the scene in question, Shang-Chi interacts with Katy’s grandmother (waipo), played by Tsai Chin, as she prepares an offering to leave at her husband’s grave and emphasizes that loved ones who have passed away have never really left. . She also asks the typical grandmother question of when Shang-Chi and her granddaughter will marry, to which he replies that they are “just friends.”
Talking to MR in Shang-Spend‘s press conference before the film’s premiere, Feige emphasized the importance of that scene in terms of “contributing personal elements to the story”. He also added that it is an important moment as it brings a sense of humanity to the film that allows “the audience to relate” to both the characters and the experience, while acknowledging the “cultural specificity”. Read Feige’s full comment below:
“I think both, but I think that’s mainly what our writers, with Destin [Daniel Cretton] who is a screenwriter and David Callaham, who was the first writer to start building the story for us, wanted to bring those personal elements to the story. And it has been remarkable in the projections. In that very moment with grandma, you can hear the audience relate to that and respond to that. So I think it was a conscious effort on the part of Dave and Destin to bring that to the screen, and I hope that with all Marvel heroes, it’s their humanity that makes them relatable. Shang-Chi is probably a more universal story than many of them because of the family element and because of the cultural specificity in which that family exists. “
The scene is important, not only for establishing the relationship between Shang-Chi and Katy’s family, but also for depicting three generations of a Chinese immigrant family living in the United States. While Katy’s grandmother still clings to older cultural traditions, Katy and her brother have firmly embraced being American. Rather, Katy’s mother finds herself in the middle, in conflict between her Chinese and American identities. While there is a great deal of cultural specificity, as Feige alludes to, there is simultaneously something inherently universal about that experience that many audiences can relate to.
Certainly the scene fits well into a movie that is, for the most part, a fairly personal story with a strong family theme. A theme that writers have struggled to incorporate in many different ways. It also offers a brief but memorable glimpse into Katy’s home life, which is important to further her character development over the course of Shang-chi. Hopefully, it’s something Marvel will continue to keep in mind in their films going forward, as they continue to provide these important personal moments that act as a respite from frenetic, action-packed shows.
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- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release Date: Sep 03, 2021
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- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release Date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release Date: March 25, 2022
- Thor: love and thunder (2022)Release Date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release Date: Jul 08, 2022
- Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release Date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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