The teaser trailer for SF-shot Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings dropped today, and a battle scene on the 1-California has local comic book fans in a delirious state of squee.
The minor kung fu comic book character Shang-Chi is a fairly obscure personality, but the Disney-Industrial Complex known as the “Marvel Cinematic Universe” has high hopes this character can be their next franchise-building action movie sensation. Last October, Nob Hill and Russian Hill residents noticed car chase scenes being filmed in their streets (the Muni bus chopped in half was a particular favorite), and SFist was able to confirm these scenes were for an upcoming Marvel martial arts film installment called Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which would also star Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina.
The teaser trailer for this epic just dropped Monday morning. You can watch it above, though very little of it depicts San Francisco, until an epic battle royale breaks out on Muni at the 1:23 mark, which takes place in the Stockton Street tunnel! Or at least a CGI version of it.
The enduring highlight will be star Simu Liu gesturing in the above GIF, though there is plenty more for us to break down here.
As with any San Francisco car chase scene, there are completely implausible location jumps where cars find themselves in totally different neighborhoods than they were two seconds ago.
Many sharp-eyed observers on social media are ‘Well, actually’-ing that it’s not really a Muni bus, it’s a Hollywood-style replica. The 1-California signage rings true, but notice that the bus’ front says “SFT,” not “Muni.”
But most importantly we have an Awkwafina sighting! She at one point is seen driving (and of course crashing) the 1-California, followed by an obligatory wisecrack, perhaps a nod to her voicing subway announcements in New York City.
Awkwafina teases her #ShangChi character, Katy— Fandom (@getFANDOM) April 19, 2021
'She has a real heart, and she has a loyalty and dedication to her friendship with Shang-Chi. She's super brave'
(via @EW | https://t.co/EqYiAWI0WV) pic.twitter.com/X0s2CqEu11
Other contextual information suggests her character Katy is not a Muni driver by trade, but merely commandeers the bus in a crisis situation as deemed necessary by action film circumstances.
Watched the trailer for Marvel’s new Shang-Chi film and somehow Awkwafina absolutely trashes a 1-California Muni bus. This is yet another reason why we need separated protected bike lanes and slow streets. 😂🤣💀 pic.twitter.com/AfvExHP7Ow— Jerry 🏳️🌈🚲🚶🏻♂️🚃🏳️🌈 (@skttrbrain) April 19, 2021
This does not appear to be a “San Francisco movie.” The Muni kung fu fight notwithstanding, very little of this trailer even pretends to take place in San Francisco. Moreover, the IMDB location listings for Shang-Chi show that only “second unit stunts” shot here. Awkwafina, Simu Liu, and Michelle Yeoh probably never set foot here during the entire production.
Happy Birthday @SimuLiu! We hope you enjoy your birthday present.— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) April 19, 2021
Watch the brand-new teaser trailer for Marvel Studios’ #ShangChi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and experience it only in theaters September 3. pic.twitter.com/0kpGP0mdW2
The most ominous aspect to this trailer may be this preferred new language of “only in theaters September 3.” The movie studios would very much like to break you from this expectation of “simultaneous release” on streaming and in movie theaters on the same day, as we saw recently with Kong vs Godzilla and as we will see with Matrix 4. Shang-Chi commands enormous fan interest, and you can see it “only in theaters.” The tug-of-war between the streaming services and the studios trying to preserve traditional box office revenue looks to be the biggest battle in the 2021 Hollywood blockbuster releases.
Image: Marvel Studios