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The Coronavirus Just Impacted Shang-Chi In A Big Way

Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi is the latest film to suffer coronavirus-related consequences.

It was confirmed on Thursday, March 12 that Destin Daniel Cretton, the director of the upcoming superhero flick Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings that's currently filming in Australia, has chosen to enter self-isolation as COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cretton recently got tested for COVID-19, the novel strain of the coronavirus family of diseases that includes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). As of this writing, it's not known whether or not Cretton has tested positive for the illness, but the filmmaker nonetheless took the advice of a medical professional and self-isolated to avoid exposing himself — and potentially others — to COVID-19. 

Self-isolation seems especially important for someone like Cretton — a father with a newborn baby. It's also a wise move considering that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Australia continues to grow, and the fact that another Australia-based film production, Baz Luhrmann's untitled Elvis Presley biopic, halted pre-production following Tom Hanks' positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

A note sent to the crew of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings addressed the situation calmly, explaining that the decision to suspend first-unit production on the film was made "in an abundance of caution" until Cretton receives the results of his test "this coming week." It reads in full, "As many of you know, Destin, our director, has a newborn baby. He wanted to exercise additional caution given the current environment and decided to get tested for COVID-19 today. He is currently self-isolating under the recommendation of his doctor. While he waits for the results of the test, we are suspending 1st unit production in an abundance of caution until he gets the results this coming week. Second unit and off production will continue as normal. We will reach out to everyone by Tuesday for the latest update. This is an unprecedented time. We appreciate everyone's understanding as we work through this."

Will Shang-Chi be delayed due to the coronavirus?

As detailed in the statement sent to the crew, the first-unit production of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been halted, but the second unit and several other production units are continuing as normal in the wake of Cretton's self-isolation. The film is currently slated for a February 12, 2021 release date, and as of this writing, Marvel hasn't said one way or another whether the suspension of the first-unit production will push Shang-Chi back. 

It's easy to believe that Marvel might delay Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings if Cretton is confirmed as having COVID-19, considering that would likely mean a complete shutdown of the production so that the cast (including lead actor Simu Liu), crew, and anyone who came in contact with Cretton can get tested and similarly be isolated until the coronavirus pandemic has deescalated. However, the film isn't set to hit cinemas for about 11 months from now. If Shang-Chi is delayed due to the coronavirus, it likely won't be a massive pushback (like the year-long delay Fast and Furious 9 was hit with) and instead will probably be only a few months.

For the time being, there's no reason for concern over Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings not making it to theaters on time.