Leave a Comment
There's a lot that we don't know about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe now that Phase 3 is over, but one thing we do know is that Chinese superhero Shang-Chi will be getting his own movie. This is a major move for representation as Asian characters haven't been getting a lot of love in the blockbuster movie scene in recent years, or really ever, but one actor wants to be sure that if it's going to happen, it happens right.
Crazy Rich Asians actor and Daily Show correspondent Ronny Chieng recently took to Twitter to ask Marvel Studios to make one significant change to the MCU version of the character. It seems that the Chinese characters that make up Shang-Chi's name in the original comics lose a little something in translation, and don't actually mean what the comic book claims. However, there's a pretty easy way to fix things.
While Marvel Comics claims that Shang-Chi's name translates to "Rising Spirit," which is a perfectly solid superhero name, Ronny Chieng says that's not actually what the two characters together actually mean. By using a different set of characters, the Chinese name becomes much more exciting, but it doesn't actually change the English translation of the name, so everybody wins.
This seems like a pretty simple fix. It seems quite likely that the fact that Shang-Chi didn't have any Chinese creators when the comic was first put together in the 1970s led to this mistranslation. It's understandable that "rising spirit" and "upper air" could be mixed up by somebody who doesn't really speak the language.
And the best part of this entire idea is that it doesn't actually change anything for fans of the character. While the phonetic translation might be slightly off, Ronny Chieng thinks it's close enough that we can still call the character Shang-Chi.
This seems like a pretty simple fix and just the sort of thing that making a movie adaptation gives creators an opportunity to do. If you're not going to polish the rough edges of a character when starting a story over again, you're letting an opportunity pass you by. The word is that Marvel Studios is intent on finding a Chinese actor, or one of Chinese ancestry, to play the role, not just anybody of Asian ancestry, so if the studio believes keeping the character that accurate ids important, then perhaps it will be willing to take this into account as well.
This is likely a change that could be made without making drastic changes to the story that's being planned. Nothing has been filmed yet, so why not make the change to something that's more accurate in Chinese? We'll have to wait and see if Marvel Studios takes this advice to heart.