One of the new characters being introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe during Phase 4 is Shang-Chi, the martial artist extraordinaire who was introduced to the printed page in 1973. Word came in at the end of last year that Shang-Chi was getting his own movie, and seven months later, it’s been announced that Simi Liu will bring the character to life on the big screen.
This news came straight out of San Diego Comic-Con, but lest you think that Simi Liu has had this role for a while, it turns out he was only cast as Shang-Chi in what is now officially titled Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings this past Tuesday after screen testing on Sunday. His credits include TV shows like Taken, The Expanse and Kim’s Convenience.
Other important news that came out of the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings portion of the Marvel panel is that years after being teased in the short film All Hail the King, the real Mandarin will appear in this movie as the main villain, played by Tony Leung. Awkwafina has also been cast, but her character wasn’t revealed.
As you’ll recall in Iron Man 3, Trevor Slattery pretended to be The Mandarin while working for Aldrich Killian, but in All Hail the King, Slattery was visited in prison by an agent of the Ten Rings, who planned to bring the drunken actor back to the real Mandarin. Now we get to finally learn about this mysterious individual, though sadly, unlike in the comics, he won’t be fighting Iron Man.
Along with being a skilled fighter like Shang-Chi, The Mandarin from the comics wields 10 rings that each have a different power. That’s where the name of the MCU terrorist organization came from, but perhaps we’ll see Tony Leung’s version of the character use these weapons. The title of the movie suggests that stands a good chance of happening.
I imagine that in the MCU, The Mandarin is taking the place of Fu Manchu as Shang-Chi’s father. In the comics, Shang-Chi was initially devoted to his father, but after learning he was a criminal mastermind, he turned his back on Fu Manchu and started using his incredible fighting skills for good, be it as a government operative or a conventional superhero.
Now that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has a release date, no doubt we can expect more casting news to arrive in the near future. Behind the camera, David Callaham, who already some superhero movie experience under his belt with Wonder Woman 1984, is writing the script, while Daniel Cretton of The Glass Castle fame is directing.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens in theaters on February 12, 2021, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on its development.