Everything we know about ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

shang-chi web
Simu Liu by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Yesterday, Marvel released the teaser trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, set to release exclusively in movie theaters on September 3!

The Marvel movie stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan. 

Shang-Chi thought he left his past behind but finds out that he’s been drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings teaser trailer

Watch the teaser trailer here:

Shang Chi is more than just a movie,” Simu Liu says

The new movie trailer was released on Simu Liu’s birthday. Simu Liu is a Canadian actor known for his role as Jung Kim in the hit show Kim’s Convenience

Simu Liu is the first-ever Asian protagonist in a Marvel movie. “I never saw myself as the hero of my own story growing up,” the actor shared alongside the movie poster on Instagram. “I struggled to find any Asian characters on screen, and there were fewer still that made me feel truly proud of my heritage.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings features an almost entirely Asian cast, which Simu Liu describes as “full of rich nuance and multidimensionality.”

Considering the recent rise of anti-Asian hate crimes, this film comes at a pivotal time. In March 2021, Simu Liu penned a guest column for Variety on the reality of Anti-Asian racism. “I fear for my parents’ safety because of a virus, although perhaps not the one you’re thinking of,’ he writes

That’s why it’s so important to see Asian representation in Hollywood. 

Shang Chi is more than just a movie – it is a celebration of our culture and a rallying cry for the forgotten, the unseen, and the overlooked,” Simu Liu says. “It is a reminder to take up space, to stand tall, and to be unapologetically ourselves.”


 
 
 
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Director Destin Daniel Cretton never wanted to do a superhero movie

Destin Daniel Cretton is a director known for dramas like Just Mercy and The Glass Castle. He had no interest in directing a superhero movie until he saw a news report in 2018 about the development of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.

“[Growing up] all I had was Spider-Man,” Destin Daniel Cretton recalls in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “Because he had the mask on, I could dress up like Spider-Man for Halloween. I had a handful of other characters that looked like me on screen, but there were maybe two or three that I could choose from, and superheroes were not a part of that.”

After seeing the report, the director thought about what his younger self would think when seeing a superhero movie with a predominantly Asian cast. So he set a meeting with Marvel and made it happen.

A Shang-Chi Marvel movie has been years in the making, with necessary updates for modern times

Shang-Chi made his comic book debut in 1973 thanks to Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin. The comic was a way to embrace the popularity of martial arts stories. According to Entertainment Weekly, Stan Lee tried to make a Shang-Chi film in the 1980s starring Brandon Lee, but it never happened.

While it was incredible to see an Asian protagonist in a comic series in the 1970s, there were some racially insensitive aspects of the books that needed to be updated for modern times. 

“There are aspects of that portrayal of [Shang-Chi] that maybe could feel a little stereotypical,” Simu Liu shares with Entertainment Weekly. “So when we first started to map out who this character was and what his journey was going to be over the course of this film, we were all very sensitive to not have it go into stereotypical territory.”

That’s why director Destin Daniel Cretton found it crucial to have a diverse representation of Asian talent both behind and in front of the camera. 

“The Asian culture is so diverse,” he says. “I grew up in Hawaii, [and] Hawaiian food is like Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hawaiian, Filipino, all mixed together. That is kind of what our crew was: It’s like this big mix of Asian cultures coming together and responding to the script and [saying things] like, ‘Oh, that doesn’t feel quite right.’ All of that helped contribute to what I think is a really beautiful update to what started in the comics a few decades ago.”

Awkwafina: “It was a level of Asian representation that I haven’t seen”

Awkwafina, known for her role in Crazy Rich Asians, plays Shang-Chi’s friend Katy in the Marvel movie. “It was a level of Asian representation that I haven’t seen, and I thought it was cool as an Asian American to watch,” she said to EW

The 32-year-old rapper/actress already has an impressive Hollywood resume, starring in Raya and the Last Dragon and her own Netflix show with Sandra Oh, and an Apple TV+ movie Swan Song and show Nora from Queens. Her raw sense of humor and wide range of roles defies the stereotypes that Asian Americans often experience in Hollywood. 

“My whole life has been spent with people having an idea of what I’m about to be, where I come from, how I was raised,” she says in an in-depth feature interview with Harpers Bazaar. “I’ve spent my entire life walking into a room surprising them.”

We’re ready to be surprised and amazed once this Marvel movie premieres. Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. Follow us on Twitter for updates leading up to this new movie release, heading exclusively to movie theaters on September 3.

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