Upcoming Marvel MCU star Shang-Chi has a lot in common with legendary martial artist Bruce Lee.

Whether from the true story or the creator’s personal life, many Marvel characters are modeled after real people. For Shang-Chi, the main character of the next movie. Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings, that template was none other than Bruce Lee. To capitalize on the martial arts craze that hit America during the 1970s, Marvel decided to create a new hero that would fit the trend and appeal to more diverse audiences, and they couldn’t think of a more perfect model for their new hero. . than the king of kung fu himself.

Created by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom and Jim Starlin, Shang-Chi made its first appearance in 1973 Marvel Special Edition #fifteen. Like Lee, the character is a master of advanced martial arts and is of Chinese descent. According to Roy Thomas, Stan Lee’s successor at Marvel, Shang-Chi was designed to look and feel specifically like Bruce Lee.

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Born Lee Jun-fan in San Francisco, Bruce Lee is considered the most influential martial artist of all time. Trained in the art of Wing Chun, he rose to fame in 1966 when he played Kato on the television series. The green Hornet. After that, he starred in several martial arts movies, including Fists of fury, Way of the Dragon Y Enter the Dragon. His work in Hollywood took steps to break stereotypes about Chinese nationality and Asian Americans, sparking a surge in interest in Chinese martial arts that continues to this day. He is credited with discovering Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid style of martial arts that is credited with creating modern mixed martial arts, also known as MMA.

Lee passed away at the age of 32 on July 20, 1973 of cerebral edema. According to the writer Nigel Clarke, Stan Lee published a special 33-issue black and white comic titled The deadly hands of Kung Fu in 1974 as a dedication to the legend. “What made Bruce Lee special was the fact that he was a human who did extraordinary things! He was believable, he was a superhero, but the attraction was that he was real! You felt you could be him. “

“Bruce Lee was a man of peace, he was a man of philosophy, he encouraged people to be the best they could be. It was not violent. In fact, that was the similarity between Bruce and many of the Marvel characters. They weren’t looking for a fight, they did their best not to get into fights. “

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Paul Gulacy, the artist of various issues of Kung Fu Master, spoke about his desire to honor Bruce Lee’s legacy at his job in an interview for Comic Artist Collection. As Lee was the face of martial arts to many people, he hoped that Shang-Chi could fill the hole made by Lee’s tragic passing.

“What I tried to do at the time was bring Bruce Lee back in a sense. When Bruce died, I felt like Kung Fu Master It was the only way out for a Bruce Lee type guy, that’s how I saw Shang-Chi. It was a continuation of all those fun things. We had the spy motif, martial arts, actors, and parody. It was a great stew of all kinds of things that that book made. We had Fu Manchu there … I mean, it was crazy, it was just a hodgepodge! And the readers realized that … “

The bond between Lee and Shang-Chi was so prominent that when plans were being prepared for a live-action adaptation, Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee was the original actor wanted for the role.. Unfortunately, Brandon Lee died in an accident on set in 1993 before he had a chance to play the character. The role of Shang-Chi in the next film will be played by Simu Liu.

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