With the accidental shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the Alec Baldwin Western “Rust,” the world has been reminded of a similar tragic shooting accident that took the life of actor Brandon Lee. The son of iconic martial arts film star Bruce Lee, Lee followed in his father’s big-screen footsteps with films like “Showdown in Little Tokyo” and “Rapid Fire” in the early 1990s. Sadly, an accidental shooting while filming “The Crow” led to the 28-year-old actor’s untimely passing in 1993.
Naturally, tales about Lee have resurfaced in the media following the “Rust” tragedy, but some of the stories aren’t nearly as well known as the coverage of the actor’s final role. One surprising revelation came from Margaret Loesch, the former president and CEO of Marvel Productions, and ironically, it ties into an MCU property that finally made its way to the theaters in 2021. Not surprisingly, the story of Lee being considered for a Marvel movie or TV project involves one of Marvel’s iconic comic book creators, the late Stan Lee. Unfortunately for the Marvel legend and the young actor, the idea never materialized.
In a story recounted in a November 2018 Inverse feature, Margaret Loesch recalled a meeting between her, Stan Lee, Brandon Lee, and Lee’s mother, Linda. The group had gathered to discuss the possibility of the young actor playing, among other Marvel characters, Shang-Chi, who made his first Marvel Comics appearance in 1973.
“I’ll tell you the only reason I remember that comic [is] because I wasn’t very familiar with it,” Loesch told Inverse. “Stan introduced me to Linda, the widow of the great Bruce Lee, and Brandon Lee, his son. They came to our Marvel offices.” Loesch also told Inverse that Stan Lee had great hopes for the young actor and that “he thought [Lee] would be a future star.”
She continued, “They talked about the kinds of comics that Stan had done, and he mentioned that comic [‘The Hands of Shang-Chi: The Master of Kung-Fu’]. Stan had great belief that those movies and TV shows based on those types of characters could be very popular.” Loesch went on to explain that, while she couldn’t remember how the meeting turned out, “I think maybe we felt out the networks, and they weren’t interested because of the violence. But that’s how I recall that property because I had not been familiar with it until then.”
Thanks to the ever-growing popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi finally got to experience his big-screen glory in September 2021 with the release of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” making a star out of lead actor Simu Liu. As evidenced by one of the film’s credits scenes, Shang-Chi is poised to return to the MCU as Marvel’s cinematic phases continue to unfold.