Simu Liu was best known for starring on the Canadian comedy series ‘Kim’s Convenience’ (available on Netflix in the US), but he has been catapulted into a much brighter spotlight, having been cast as the lead in Marvel Studios’ ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’, an upcoming entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When ‘Black Panther’ opened in 2018, it electrified the African American community who rallied around it declaring, “It’s not a movie, it’s a movement.” Now, Liu hopes that ‘Shang-Chi’ can have a similar impact on the Asian American community.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post, he stated:
“To take a quote from Stan Lee, the legend himself, ‘With great power there must also come great responsibility’. But I think the reason I have the platform I do is because I’ve leaned into my Asianness. If you are going to ask an entire population to support you, to rally behind you and give you a platform, I won’t shy away from that responsibility. I feel like we’ve been shying away from it as people for too long, especially the children of immigrants who are taught to keep their heads down. We have reached the limit of that philosophy.
“I really think this movie could change the world.”
According to reports, Marvel is taking steps to make sure ‘Shang-Chi’ avoids certain racist elements that permeated the original comics. The stereotypical Yellow Peril villain Fu Manchu has been eliminated in favor of a rebooted version of the Iron Man villain The Mandarin, who will be portrayed by Tony Chiu-Wai Leung.
To also ensure sensitivity, the film will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who is part Japanese, with a screenplay by David Callaham, who is of Chinese descent. Awkwafina has been cast in an undisclosed role.
‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ opens on February 12, 2021.