After Playing Marvel Superhero Shang-Chi, Simu Liu Has Lined Up An Awesome Villain Role

Around this time last year, Simu Liu became a blockbuster star when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings became a record-breaking Marvel hit. Liu is undoubtedly at the beginning of his Marvel journey, with a Shang-Chi sequel already in the works, but that’s not stopping the actor from signing on for more roles outside the MCU. His latest get is as the villain in a sci-fi Netflix movie starring Jennifer Lopez. 

Simu Liu has reportedly been cast in a movie called Atlas, where he’ll play an AI soldier gone rogue who makes it his mission to destroy humanity in order to exterminate war, per Deadline. It looks like Lopez will be playing Atlas’ protagonist, who must work with another AI soldier in order to stop the villainous AI annihilating humanity. 

This Is Us actor Sterling K. Brown is also among the cast, perhaps as Lopez’s AI companion? Details are still thin regarding the Netflix movie, but it will be directed by San Andreas and Rampage filmmaker Brad Peyton from a script written by Locke & Key’s Aron Eli Coleite, who wrote up the latest draft of a screenplay written by Leo Sardarian.

Since Liu found super stardom with Shang-Chi, the actor has been signing on to a variety of roles that shows he’s interested in tackling a lot of different genres. His next movie is a romantic drama with Phillipa Soo called One True Loves. Additionally, Liu will star alongside Mark Wahlberg in a dog adventure called Arthur the King, and he's also part of Barbie’s massive cast, which includes talents like Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, America Ferrera and Michael Cera. 

Along with those upcoming projects for Liu, he also published a memoir called We Were Dreamers: An Immigrant Superhero Origin Story, which has become a New York Times bestseller and received kind words from big names like Ryan Reynolds and Olivia Munn. We also expect to see Simu Liu in a lot of Marvel movies moving forward, as Shang-Chi is among the most powerful new heroes who were introduced recently. With two Avengers movies on the way in 2025, it's a good bet he may help face off against Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror. 

The 33-year-old got his start in Hollywood as a stuntman in Pacific Rim and Heroes Reborn. Liu found his breakthrough role in Kim’s Convenience, a Canadian sitcom about a Korean family who runs a convenience store in Toronto. Now that he has proven to be a viable name in movies with Shang-Chi, it’s clear Hollywood is ready to give Liu opportunities for all kinds of roles including Atlas. While we wait for more details on Atlas, you can check out what upcoming Netflix movies are on the way next. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.