Shang-Chi’s Simu Liu Explains Why Audiences Will Be ‘Surprised’ By His Marvel Debut

Most of you familiar with Simu Liu likely know him best for his role as Jung Kim on the sitcom Kim’s Convenience, but soon the world at large will chiefly recognize him as a cinematic superhero. Liu is playing Shang-Chi in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and the actor is quite confident that the moviegoing public will be surprised by his debut as the iconic Marvel martial artist, though not because of the movie’s grand scale; quite the opposite, in fact.

Simu Liu was part of Entertainment Weekly’s recent lineup of breakout stars in 2021, with others on the list including Paul Mescal, Taylor Paige and Brandee Evans. Here’s what Liu told the publication about what audiences can expect from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

It's going to surprise a lot of people in how small and intimate it can feel.

Obviously when one watches a Marvel movie, some kind of action-packed spectacle is guaranteed, and that won’t be any different for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That being said, in Simu Liu’s eyes, the Shang-Chi movie will feel smaller-scale compared our usual MCU film offerings. Why exactly that is, Liu didn’t elaborate, although there have been rumors that the movie will feature an underground martial arts tournament. If that’s Shang-Chi’s primary setting, and considering how a lot of MCU movies see its heroes hopping around numerous locations, then it would make sense why Liu would describe the movie as feeling small and intimate.

While no specific plot details for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings have been revealed yet, it will involve the eponymous protagonist clashing with Tony Leung’s Wenwu, a.k.a. The Mandarin, leader of the Ten Rings terrorist organization. In Iron Man 3, The Mandarin was thought to be a legend, hence why Aldrich Killian hired Trevor Slattery to play him for his nefarious scheme, but the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King revealed that The Mandarin was indeed real, and we’re finally getting to meet him nearly a decade later. Shang-Chi’s cast also includes Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, Fala Chen as Jiang Li, Florian Munteanu as Razor Fist, Meng’er Zhang as Xialing, Ronny Chieng as Jon Jon and Michelle Yeoh (who previously played Aleta Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) as Jiang Nan.

Behind the cameras, The Glass Castle’s Destin Daniel Cretton is directing Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings off a screenplay by Wonder Woman 1984’s David Callaham. It was first reported that Shang-Chi was in development in late 2018, and that was confirmed by Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con, where Simu Liu’s casting was also announced. Principal photography kicked off in February 2020 in Sydney, Australia, and following delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, filming concluded towards the end of October.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently slated to hit theaters on July 9, 2021, although keep your eyes locked on CinemaBlend for news on if the movie is being delayed again, and any other noteworthy updates. Feel free to look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what else this superhero franchise is sending to the big screen in the coming years.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.