In 2019, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige confirmed during a press event for Avengers: Endgame that a full-length movie about Marvel Comics’ first Asian superhero, Shang-Chi, was in the works. The bombshell news was supported later that same year when Marvel made its public announcement about the forthcoming film at San Diego Comic-Con along with the movie’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, and leading man, Simu Liu.
Now, the Master of Kung Fu’s big-screen debut is officially slated to happen this fall in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. For the uninitiated, here’s a rundown of who Shang-Chi is, the plot of the upcoming history-making feature, and who else will join the cast:
The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Plot
Shang-Chi made his debut appearance within the pages of Special Marvel Edition #15 in 1973. In the comics, the martial arts prodigy is groomed from childhood by his villainous father, Fu Manchu, to become an assassin. However, after realizing his father’s evil plans, Shang-Chi decides to use his martial skills to take down Fu and his gang of evildoers before retiring for a while. Shang-Chi joins forces with several of his fellow superhero peers in the Marvel comicverse, including Spider-Man (as his martial arts trainer) and the Avengers.
Judging from the movie’s teaser trailer that dropped on April 19, 2021, Cretton’s Shang-Chi appears to have incorporated the crime fighter’s basic origin tale from the Marvel comics. The Just Mercy director and co-writer told The Hollywood Reporter in 2020 that one of the major themes present in all of his films is that of the family – “whether a literal family or a family created of circumstance.” And it certainly seems that message is present in Shang-Chi, especially when it comes to Shang-Chi’s relationship with his father.
The Shang-Chi Trailers
The first trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a two-minute and five-second joyride that begins with the titular character’s daily routine, involving shirtless pushups, going through the motions at his valet gig, and enjoying karaoke with his friend Katy, played by Awkwafina. With narration from his father heard in the background, vignettes of Shang-Chi’s childhood coincide with images of Shang-Chi’s present, as he decides to venture away from his Fu Manchu’s side to take on the bad guys by himself.
The following trailer released in June gave a little more insight into the Ten Rings organization, Michelle Yeoh’s character, and even teased the return of Abomination, an Incredible Hulk villain who is expected to appear in the Disney+ She-Hulk series.
The Shang-Chi Cast
There’s a host of familiar faces starring in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, including the performer cast as Shang-Chi himself: Simu Liu. Liu has appeared in a number of acclaimed TV series, including Fresh of the Boat and Orphan Black. Still, starring in the lead role of Shang-Chi is a big deal for Liu — he’s portraying Marvel’s first Asian superhero in the MCU’s first movie not only led by an Asian star but also crafted by the filmmaking team of Cretton and Shang-Chi screenwriter David Callaham. The importance of this event in filmmaking history is not lost on Liu, who captioned an Instagram post with sentiments about representation in film and how Shang-Chi “is a celebration of our culture and a rallying cry for the forgotten, the unseen, and the overlooked.”
Besides Liu and Awkwafina, Awkafina’s Crazy Rich Asians co-stars Yeoh and Ronny Chieng reunite with one another Shang-Chi. Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Florian Munteanu (Creed II), and Fala Chen (The Undoing) also round out the cast.
The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Release Date
According to the end of the trailer, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrives in theaters on September 3, 2021.
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