‘Shang-Chi’: Why People Are Excited About Simu Liu’s MCU Debut Even Knowing Nothing About the Character

2020 has been a rough year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

After putting a big bow on the Infinity saga last year, the studio has only released one film, and zero of those have been this calendar year. Still, they have announced an ambitious slate going forward full of new and exciting projects.

One of those projects is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Despite not being as recognizable of a character as some of the other MCU heroes, fans are excited nonetheless.

So why is it that they’re so pumped to see this new-to-them character portrayed on the big screen? 

Who is Shang-Chi?

Simu Liu
Simu Liu | CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

According to the Marvel website, Shang-Chi is the son of a “renowned criminal mastermind.”

Growing up, Shang-Chi studied both philosophy and martial arts in a Chinese fortress hidden away from society. He didn’t know his father was a criminal. When Shang-Chi receives an assignment to kill one of his father’s enemies, he meets a British agent called Smith who tells Shang-Chi the truth about his father’s organization. He then swears to fight against everything his father stands for. 

Shang-Chi is known for being a martial arts expert “without peer in the world.” He’s never been portrayed before in a live-action role. That’s set to change next summer. 

Shang-Chi’s film in development

According to IMDb, Shang-Chi’s film is supposed to hit theaters next July in 2021. It’s titled Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The villain will be the Mandarin.

The Mandarin is traditionally Iron Man’s greatest foe (you’ll remember a faux-version of him was featured in Iron Man 3) but Marvel thought it would be more appropriate to pair a Chinese villain with a Chinese superhero. 

Actor Simu Liu will play Shang-Chi. The film’s production and release date were pushed back (as were all other MCU film projects) due to COVID-19 restrictions. The reason the film will be groundbreaking is that it’s the first MCU feature headlined by an Asian actor.

Never before has a Chinese hero gotten a headlining role in a Marvel film. That’s quite a revolutionary accomplishment. 

While the film’s representation is a big deal, it also has to be good on top of that. Fans aren’t worried about that due to the star. So why are Marvel fans so excited to see Liu debut in the MCU? 

Why fans are excited about Simu Liu’s MCU debut


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The main reason fans are so excited about this entry into the MCU is that it represents something different from the rest of Marvel’s cinematic offerings.

An MCU fan on Reddit posted a screenshot of Liu’s Instagram post talking about filming. Someone responded with a comment that encapsulates why fans are so amped for this one: 

“While I know next to nothing about the characters or story here, I am so excited about this movie. The action in Marvel movies is always good, but we’ve had a long stretch of very flashy, CGI action. I’m excited to hopefully see some hand to hand, practical stuff, I find that much more impressive.”

While the Marvel movies have been very entertaining, they all do seem similar. There’s a ton of CGI in each one to make the stories come to life. Shang-Chi is going to break away from that with some hand-to-hand combat.

There will no doubt be CGI at some point, but the majority of the action is likely to come from martial arts-type of fighting if the source material is any indication. 

The picture Liu posted says it all. He’s wearing a jacket that features the film’s title with the words “STUNT TEAM” underneath it. That seems to indicate an emphasis on stunt work. If Marvel fans were growing tired of CGI and looking for more practical effects, Shang-Chi may be just what the doctor ordered.