Simu Liu Has Already Proven He Was the Right Pick for ‘Shang-Chi’

Delays in filming and premieres caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) have left Marvel fans anxious for a new release. After the heartbreaking conclusion to Infinity War, movie-goers are ready for new stories, heroes, and actors to keep them entertained on the big screen. The twenty-fifth movie in the cinematic universe, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to do just that in July 2021. Its star, Simu Liu, has already won the hearts of many fans through one simple tweet. 

Simu Liu in front of a Comic Con background, speaking into a microphone
Simu Liu | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Marvels fan have long anticipated Shang-Chi

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will star Marvel’s first Asian superhero, a move that many see as long overdue. However, this large step in representation for the Marvel franchise actually began nearly two decades ago, in 2001. The cinematic powerhouse first began work on a film based around the Shang-Chi comics but did not ramp up production until 2018. This pivotal year marked the hiring of David Callaham, who wrote the screenplay. 

Fascinatingly, the vision for Shang-Chi’s transition to screen began even before that. According to Inverse, Stan Lee — the late and former creative leader of Marvel — had hoped for a TV show or movie centering around the original comics. His vision was to have the superhero played by Brandon Lee, son of Karate Kid’s Bruce Lee

Tragically, the young Lee passed in 1994 during the filming of a different action film. The creative director Lee also died in 2018 before he could see the final product of the eventual Shang-Chi, but left behind a star-studded franchise and high anticipation for the future film. 

Simu Liu was faced with high expectations

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With Shang-Chi described as a master of kung-fu, the Chinese-Canadian acting chops and karate chops were bound to be under a lot of scrutiny. Pair that pressure with the original vision of the character for Lee and rumors of a Jackie Chan co-star, and Liu’s Marvel debut faces intense pressure. 

Despite high fan standards, Liu seems ready to take on his new Marvel identity. He got his start as an extra in Pacific Rim and soon worked his way up to appearances in hits like Beauty and the Beast (2014). In 2015, he began a regular role on the crime series Blood and Water, for which he would receive multiple award nominations. 

What’s special about Liu, however, is that he doesn’t just come with acting experience. The 31-year-old has also spent time as a stuntman, aided by his background in Taekwondo and gymnastics. While each Marvel film is improved by evolving CGI technology, it seems that Liu’s extensive skills may help to create believable fight scenes and fans can’t wait. 

With months until Shang-Chi’s release, fans are already sold

Although Liu has faced some online backlash since his ascent into the spotlight, he’s also strongly connected with fans through his posts. On December 21, Liu shared to Twitter a video sample of a fighting scene that he put together with some friends. Though the video is less than a minute long, fans were immediately impressed by the genuine skill and realism of the fight. 

A Reddit thread immediately began with diehard viewers ready to dissect the clip. Many comments praised Marvel’s casting choice in Liu, with one fan saying, “This dude oozes swag. He’s going to be great.” Others were impressed by the acting range Liu was able to portray in such a short amount of time. As another fan put it: “I really really like Simu. He seems awesome and the blend of comedy? Chefs kiss.” 

Although Shang-Chi’s release was faced with delays and uncertainty, it’s clear Marvel fans haven’t lost any excitement during their wait. We can’t wait to see Liu’s skills move from a Tweet to the big screen.