According to a new report, it looks like China might actually ban two of Marvel’s biggest potential blockbusters. Specifically, the report suggests that China would ban The Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in particular.
As revealed via Variety, they noted that CCTV6 China Movie Channel actually took down both of the aforementioned films from a list of upcoming MCU movies. Variety then suggested that this was because China might actually ban The Eternals and Shang-Chi. As stated:
“The omission might seem small, but its significance lies in its provenance: the channel is under the jurisdiction of China’s powerful propaganda department, which has the final word on film approvals.”
While it’s unclear why exactly China would want to ban the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the report states that the ban on The Eternals could be due to director Chloe Zhao. It seems that a 2013 quote from Zhao has resurfaced in which she said China was a place “where there are lies everywhere.” While it isn’t known if that could be the reason for the potential ban, it seems like a possibility at this point. As for Shang-Chi, that film could see a ban in China due to the use of Mandarin. As explained in the report:
“Although ‘the Mandarin’ is not the same person as Fu Manchu, it still is under the shadow of ‘Fu Manchu.’”
“Even just the announcement of the characters has caused huge controversy in China. Marvel wants ‘Shang-Chi to earn money from global audiences… [but] faces a big challenge. The film itself will decide whether it will end in tears or laughter.”
The report further cited a Weibo user:
“So you change the name and it’s not Fu Manchu anymore? The Mandarin is inherently a character that blackens the image of the Chinese people.”
The user’s quote also included the following statement:
“I hope China Film and the [censorship authorities] won’t be bought out by this; this kind of film is not worthy of coming to China to make money off us while calling us fools.”
Indeed, while the new character Wenwu might not be named like the Fu-Manchu from the comics, he still holds the same place in the story. Of course, other users have insisted that the film is simply racist because of actors like Awkwafina and Simu Liu being cast. And for other reasons, they think it’s outright attempting to pander to Chinese audiences.
At this moment, this information should be taken with a grain of salt. But it seems as though there is a possibility that China could indeed ban the upcoming Marvel films The Eternals and Shang-Chi. Or, at the very least, we shouldn’t expect the films to do very well at the Chinese box office.