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After a very long dry spell, the Marvel Cinematic Universe returns to theaters in a big way during the second half of 2021. Among the highly anticipated releases is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which stars Simu Liu. While the film’s plot remains mostly under wraps, the actor shared a little about what to expect.

Simu Liu stars in ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’

Simu Liu of 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' at the SDCC 2019 Marvel Studios Panel on July 20, 2019.
Simu Liu of ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ at the SDCC 2019 Marvel Studios Panel on July 20, 2019. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

For the MCU’s Phase 4, Marvel announced a mixture of legacy titles like Thor: Love and Thunder and fresh franchises set around new characters. Among the latter was Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, loosely based on the titular heroes’ back story in the Marvel comics.

Liu was cast in the lead role in July 2019, shortly before Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con presentation announcing the film’s title and original release date. Awkwafina joins him as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, while Tony Leung plays Wenwu/Mandarin (also Shang-Chi’s father), and Michelle Yeoh appears as Jiang Nan.

The first trailer for the film dropped on Liu’s birthday

Liu shared the first teaser poster from Shang-Chi on his 32nd birthday (April 19, 2021). But he also got a surprise from the studio. Marvel dropped the movie’s first teaser trailer the same day. “THIS IS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER,” the actor excitedly wrote, retweeting the video.

In the teaser trailer, Wenwu narrates. He tells his son it’s time for him to join the Ten Rings organization, as he’s been prepared to do. But Shang-Chi enjoys his life in San Francisco. The movie explores the family dynamics between Shang-Chi and his father and his past with the Ten Rings.

‘Shang-Chi’ has ‘some of the craziest action sequences’

In May 2021, Liu attended an event where he talked to People about the upcoming film. “It’s really like a celebration of Asianness, and also all of the characters that surround that are coming from a multitude of different backgrounds, whether it’s Asian American or Chinese, or otherwise,” he said.

Liu, who has a background in martial arts and has worked as a stuntman, also gave audiences a preview of Shang-Chi‘s content. “The other thing that I will promise you, I will put a stamp on and personally guarantee is that you’re going to see some of the craziest action sequences that you’ve ever seen,” he said.

When does ‘Shang-Chi’ premiere in theaters?

Like many films that shot in 2020, Shang-Chi experienced production delays due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This, coupled with release date shifts for Marvel’s continuity and scheduling of its films and TV series, led to repeated changes in its premiere date every few months.

However, March 2021 brought positivity to the industry. Movie theaters in the U.S. began to reopen, allowing for solid projections. The studio announced official release dates for several upcoming MCU projects, including Shang-Chi. The film arrives in theaters on September 3, 2021.