Why Was MCU's 'Shang-Chi' Filmed Under This Random Working Title?

Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hit the big screen, and MCU fans are ecstatic. Critics praised the performances, special effects, stunt work, and cultural representation. The production experienced setbacks due to the pandemic. Now, Shang-Chi’s story is finally in theaters.

MCU fans might think they know every detail of the movie, such as filming locations. But were they aware of its random working title during production, and why Marvel used that name?

What is ‘Shang-Chi’ about?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings takes place after Avengers: Endgame. Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) lives in San Francisco. He spends time with friends, such as Katy (Awkwafina), and enjoys a simple life. However, he’s been hiding a dark secret and thought he could run from it.

In his childhood, Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu trained him to be an assassin. But Shang-Chi realized how problematic the Ten Rings organization was. Now, he faces the consequences of leaving.

What did they call MCU’s ‘Shang-Chi’ during filming?

Many viewers understand that major productions use pseudonyms to avert curious onlookers. It wasn’t surprising that this MCU film did the same. Filming throughout a populous city like San Francisco is difficult. In the movie, Katy and Shang-Chi drive a city bus and crash into multiple objects down the road. It must have been strenuous for the crew to shoot and set up this scene. But they pulled it off.

A large chunk of filming took place in Australia, but San Francisco locals noticed the big-budget production in Fisherman’s Wharf.

MCU’s Shang-Chi filmed incognito under the code name “Steamboat.” Some fans contemplated multiple reasons behind the name choice, such as Disney’s old Steamboat Willie flick. Others initially thought the title referred to something in the MCU.

However, no one from the production revealed why they chose this specific working title.

‘Shang-Chi’ opens with a prologue in Mandarin

According to Variety, director Destin Daniel Cretton discussed his awareness of past Asian stereotypes in Shang-Chi’s comic origins.

“We’re obviously working within the context of multiple genres,” Cretton explained. “The martial arts genre, the superhero genre. But from a character standpoint, I feel like the process of breaking stereotypes is really just trying to humanize the characters as much as possible, give them as many sides as we could.”

Later, Cretton addressed the opening prologue at the beginning of Shang-Chi. Some viewers were surprised that Marvel Studios kept a prologue in Mandarin. Cretton also admitted his surprise that Marvel gave him free rein.

“At Marvel, I feel like they should put up a big poster up on their wall that just says, ‘Try it,” the director revealed. “That seems to be what the mantra is there when there is a risk-taking idea.”

Although Cretton successfully dissolved boundaries, he confessed it was difficult to cast Shang-Chi.

“Casting was not easy in this movie because there wasn’t just a list of incredible actors to choose from,” the director recalled. “We also knew it was equally important to choose an actor who wasn’t just an Asian American but was Chinese American, and we wanted an actor who could convincingly speak Mandarin and be caught in between those two cultures.”

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