Today, we take a look at why Shang-Chi’s sister had to be renamed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.
In âFollow the Path,â I highlight changes to comic book characters based on outside media, as well as characters entirely drawn from outside media. I’m sure you can think of other examples, so feel free to email me at [email protected] if you would like to suggest other examples for future installments.
FU MANCHU’S INFLUENCE ON SHANG-CHI COMICS
In case you’re unfamiliar with the character (aside from the distinctive facial hairstyle that the movie version of the character inspired), Fu Manchu is an Asian villain who has appeared as the villain in a series of adventure novels. by British novelist Sax Rohmer who started in 1913. Fu Manchu was the epitome of the idea of ââ”Yellow Peril” – that is, when writers turn villains of Asia into some kind of exotic boogey man. This is how Rohmer described Fu Manchu in one of the books, âImagine a person, tall and lean and feline, with high shoulders, with a forehead like Shakespeare and a face like Satan, … a giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present … Imagine this dreadful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the Yellow Peril embodied in one man. ” Fu Manchu is essentially one of the world’s first supervillains.
Fu Manchu’s main rivals in the books were Sir Denis Nayland Smith and Doctor John Petrie. Smith and Petrie were themselves Rohmer’s riffs on the then contemporary stories of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (it’s fascinating how some characters, like Sherlock Holmes, feel like they’ve always existed, but there were new stories of Sherlock Holmes by its creator no later than 1927, less than a hundred years ago! The last Mary Poppins book written by its creator came out in 1988!).
When Marvel introduced Shang-Chi in the 1973s Marvel Special Edition # 15 (by Steve Englehart, Jim Starlin and Al Milgrom), the company has also licensed the rights to the Fu Manchu novels from the Rohmer Estate, and so when we first meet Shang-Chi, he shows his skills over formidable opponents and we slowly discover that it was all just a test and that Shang-Chi is the son of the legendary criminal mastermind, Fu Manchu. However, we also learn that Shang-Chi has been isolated his entire life and that his father has convinced him that he is in fact a legendary DO-GOODER and that Shang-Chi owes his new battle prowess to take down one. of his fathers. nastiest enemies …
After apparently killing Dr. Petrie, Nayland Smith convinces Shang-Chi that his father is evil, and Shang-Chi then devotes himself to bringing down his father’s criminal empire.
ENTER FAH LO SUEE
Well, decades before Shang-Chi was introduced, one of Fu Manchu’s earliest novels established that the villain had a daughter. She eventually became a major figure in the 1930s, aptly titled Fu Manchu’s daughter, where Rohmer eventually named her Fah Lo Suee, a nickname Fu Manchu had for his daughter which means, roughly translated, “sweet scent”.
So even if you just want to count the 1930 book as its first real appearance, it was still over forty years before Shang-Chi was introduced.
Fah Lo Suee has been adapted in a number of film adaptations of Fu Manchu, but notably, she was renowned for almost all of them, as Fah Lo Suee was difficult to pronounce. She was Ling Moy in the 1931s Daughter of the Dragon. She was Fah Lo See in the 1932s The mask of Fu Manchu. She was the aptly named Fah Lo Suee in the 1940s Drums of Fu Manchu. She was Lin Tang in the 1960s Christophe Lee Fu Manchu films. A version of her was merged with another female character, Karamaneh, in the 1956s The Adventures of Dr Fu Manchu.
Shang-Chi’s ongoing series, Kung Fu Master, took over the numbering from Marvel Special Edition and Fah Lo Suee made his comic book debut in Kung Fu Master # 26 in 1974 (by Doug Moench, Keith Pollard and Sal Trapani) …
She was initially a villainous character, but over time became an ally of her brother (although she demoted from time to time).
WHY HAS SHANG-CHI’S SISTER NAME CHANGED?
Kung Fu Master lasted until the 1980s (Moench wrote most of the series, as the book was canceled shortly after leaving Marvel in the early 1980s), and once completed, the licensing agreement with the domain Rohmer was also finished. Once the license agreement was concluded, Marvel could no longer use Fu Manchu. Instead, Marvel constantly referred to Shang-Chi’s father as simply “Shang-Chi’s father.” Likewise, other Rohmer creations were banned, notably Fah Lo Suee.
After years of calling him “Shang-Chi’s father,” Ed Brubaker found his new official name, Zheng Zu, in Secret avengers # 8 (by Brubaker and Mike Deodato) …
With Zheng Zu now being the name, his daughter appeared again in Intrepid Defenders # 8 (by Cullen Bunn, Will Sliney and Veronica Gandini) as Zheng Bao Yo, named after his father …
That’s all well and good, but in Shang-Chi’s new movie, Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings, obviously Shang-Chi’s father is not Fu Manchu, but they chose not to use Zheng Zu EITHER, so Shang-Chi’s sister could not be called Zheng Bao Yo EITHER, choosing to use a NEW name, Xu Wenwu, so the movie just came up with their own name for the sister character, nicknamed her Xialingâ¦
In the current Shang-Chi Marvel Comics series, writer Gene Luen Yang avoided the problem altogether by simply not using the PERIOD of Fu Manchu era characters, including Zheng Bao Yo, instead introducing a number of NEWS Shang-Chi’s half-sisters on the show to essentially take her place in the narrative.
That’s it for this episode of Follow the Path! If anyone else has a suggestion for a comic book character change due to TV or movies, message me at [email protected]!
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