Visit the Shang-Chi wiki page - "Being a full-fledged MCU superhero is an absolute dream come true, and I don't say that lightly." Simu Liu, the 32-year-old actor playing Shang-Chi can't wait for the world to see Marvel's newest superhero on the big screen. As MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) movies become more and more prevalent in our staple of movie-going experiences, many actors are clamoring for the ever-growing list of superheroes on the roster. "I was, you know, reading comic books from when I was a little kid. I was playing with action figures. I was watching all the movies, even the really obscure ones."
Liu is not alone. It seems every day, actors, both young and old announce via social media that they would love to be in a Marvel movie. Liu did this very thing. (See his original pre-cast tweet from 2014) Producer Kevin Feige's grand plan for Marvel's characters has even promoted some of the lesser-known superheroes to the well-known list. Take 'Guardians of the Galaxy' for example. Never a top-selling comic book, Feige found a filmmaker like James Gunn to showcase niche print characters in a way mainstream movie audiences adore. With this talent, the MCU is limitless when it comes to its pool of characters, even though many are not yet a household name.
Shang-Chi is an example of a character that is due for an update and a creative team willing to take on the task. Simu Liu's feelings on the matter are clear. "We're dealing with subject matter that comes from the 70s that parts of it are not the most suited to be modernized into 2021, so it was really critical that we take the core elements of the character that we think are the most important, but then to craft a new and fresh origin story that audiences have never seen before that really is progressive and make sense in the modern day, and I think we've done that."
Liu, never shy when it comes to passing credit on to others says "We have such an incredible filmmaking team, including but not limited to Destin Daniel Cretton, our amazing director and Dave Callaham our screenwriter both of whom are Asian-American, so they were really able to write to the Asian-American experience." This attention to diversity is another Kevin Feige trademark and it hits home for Liu. "I think that in the way Shang-Chi struggles with his relationship to his father, I think growing up in an immigrant household, I can definitely relate to that, you know juggling and navigating the expectations of my parents and trying to connect to them even across a cultural barrier and often times a language barrier, it was really hard for us and we got into a lot of arguments. There was a lot of tension because we just didn't fundamentally understand each other." Simu hopes to bring this life experience to his role. "I'm really really happy with the journey I took and I hope that Shang can take a similar journey in the movie where he can learn to accept all the parts of him including the parts that are darker that maybe represent his father's side."
As we start to approach spoiler territory, we'll just leave it right there. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is exclusively in theaters September 3rd. Get Your Shang-Chi Tickets Here!
Kris Kidd, Pop Culture Group