Marvel is bringing the first Asian superhero, Shang-Chi (pronounced like “song”), to the big screen. Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings is coming to theaters on September 3. Shang-Chi is a Chinese superhero–aka The Master of Kung-Fu. This film is one of many superhero movies that Marvel plans to debut in Phrase Four. The superhero franchise dropped a highly anticipated teaser that sent fans in a frenzy along with the movie’s release announcement.
Here’s everything we know about Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, from its updated release to its new cast members.
When will it be released?
Shang-Chi’s debut movie will premiere in theaters on Sept. 3, 2021. On April 19, Simu Liu, who plays Shang-Chi, posted on his Instagram announcing the release date for the film, along with the first teaser poster of his character. Due to the pandemic, the film is being released nine months after the original date.
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Who’s in it?
Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings stars Simo Liu as Shang Chi and Crazy Rich Asian star Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy. The film also co-stars Tony Chiu-Wai Leung as Shang-Chi’s criminal father, Wenwu, the antagonist. Michelle Yeoh, Florian Munteanu—best known for his role in Creed II—and Ronny Chieng has also joined the cast. This is Marvel’s first movie to have a predominantly Asian cast.
On April 19, the cast and directors spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the upcoming film. In the executive interview, Awkwafina talked about the cultural significance of the 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. “It definitely explores different levels of identity.”
Liu has long had hopes of playing an Asian superhero. In December 2018, he tweeted at Marvel about the movie. After his tweet, the franchise sent an invitation for a live audition. After he was cast in the role in July 2019, he tweeted “Well shit” in response to his 2018 tweet.
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In the EW interview, Liu talked about his excitement for the role.
The most exciting thing about stepping into this character was that his backstory has never been told before. We know so many different versions of Batman’s origin story, how his parents were murdered when he was very young. We know Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, and he loses his uncle. Shang-Chi’s story is very much unknown to most of the world, so we had a lot of freedom and creative liberty to make it the way that we wanted to.
Just Mercy director Destin Daniel Cretton directed the film. Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz are producers and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Charles Newirth are executive producers. Cretton co-wrote the screenplay, along with David Callaham and Andrew Lanham.
Is there a trailer?
The same day Liu released a poster teaser, Marvel Studios released an action-packed teaser trailer of the upcoming film. Fans can expect the release of the official trailer as the release date approaches.
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What’s it about?
An official description of the plot, per Marvel, says “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.”
The film begins exploring Shang-Chi’s life as a 20-something living in San Francisco, who spends his days hanging out with his friend Katy. Awkwafina told EW that “[Katy] doesn’t do a lot of the heavy lifting. But at the end of the day, she has a real heart, and she has a loyalty and dedication to her friendship with Shang-Chi. She’s super brave.”
Schwartz told the outlet he believes the movie has the best sequences Marvel has ever done. “Every punch is meaningful, every fighting style is meaningful, and the story is told visually in such a great way,” he said. Cretton was inspired by the ethereal wushu style of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and Jackie Chan’s action comedies as he directed the film.
Schwartz also said the core of Shang-Chi is a family drama. “That was something that Destin keyed into really early on in our conversations, the idea of taking this broken family and this really dark, even abusive family background and seeing what that does to a child over time.”
Shang-Chi’s villain in the film is his father, Wenwu. It has been 10 years since Shang-Chi has seen his dad after learning about his criminal work. “This is not a ‘Luke, I am your father’ twist. He knows who his father is, and he’s decided to leave that world behind before he’s pulled back into it,” Feige told EW. The plot thickens as Wenwu calls his son to take his place on the throne. Cretton also mentions that Wenwu is not a one-dimensional character, that he has depth and the ability to love.
What other Marvel movies are linked to the film?
Wenwu is involved with the Ten Rings, a terrorist organization. He is also known as the dangerous “Mandarin” leader, who was first mentioned in Iron Man 3. “I think people hear ‘the Mandarin’ and expect a very specific kind of thing, and that may not be the thing they’re getting. They’re hopefully getting a more complex and layered take on the character than that name would lead you to,” Schwartz teased, per EW.
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