Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings It’s unusual for a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in that very, very little is pulled directly from the character’s comic book origin story, and for good reason. But when the latest trailer for the film was released, that didn’t stop. some Marvel fans wildly speculate.
The trailer revealed a shot of a huge snake-shaped Chinese dragon, swimming through blue-green water, and some were hoping this was their first look at the cinematic incarnation of the most infamous dragon in the Marvel universe: Fin Fang Foom. .
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.]
This did not turn out to be true. Our first confirmation came from merchandising launches who referred to the dragon as the “Great Protector”, and then Shang-chi himself, which reveals that outside of the murky waters of his home, the Great Protector definitely does not share Fin Fang Foom’s color scheme.
But you don’t have to take the movie’s word for it, the toys, or even us. Just listen Shang-chi co-writer and director Destin Daniel Cretton.
“The symbolism of the dragon in Chinese culture and mythology was too important, I think, to be dismissed in that way,” he told Polygon. “So yeah, there is a very important water dragon in our movie. I wouldn’t name that dragon Fin Fang Foom. ”
Wait, who is Fin Fang Foom?
Fin Fang Foom was created at the end of Marvel Comics’ superhero-free interregnum between the heyday of Captain America’s WWII and the 1960s boom initiated by the Fantastic Four. In a time when weird science and monster comics were big sellers at Marvel, then “Timely Comics”, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created a large green dragon-like creature named Fin Fang Foom, the central monster of Strange tales # 89.
Foom’s origin story is not really relevant to the discussion, although it was discovered in Taiwan. (The scientist who discovered it tried to use it to repel an invading communist force.) What’s more relevant is that this big green monster with a funny name has returned time and again throughout Marvel history. Nominally, he’s one of Iron Man’s foes, but he’s actually ready and waiting behind the scenes for any story that can use a kaiju-sized green dragon inexplicably wearing purple shorts.
All of this is to say that Fin Fang Foom is very goofy, but the kind of goofy that gets loved by superhero fans. Maybe a little too a lot, if you forget that he’s really a 60-year-old phone game that partly started with Stan Lee’s half-remembered inspiration from a filmed version of a spectacularly orientalist British stage show.
As Cretton himself put it: There really aren’t enough there there to use Fin Fang Foom to represent Chinese iconography. Better to wait for a different Marvel movie debut.