Why Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ Will Have A Huge Impact According To Star Awkwafina

Marvel just announced its next slate of projects, including a new franchise in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring Simu Liu and Awkwafina. The movie will be among the first of Phase 4 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and Awkwafina recently expressed her excitement to be a part of the action.

Marvel's 'Shang-Chi' star Awkwafina
Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ star Awkwafina | Photo by Tyler Essary/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Awkwafina opens up about ‘Shang-Chi’

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Marvel’s first film that has an Asian superhero at the helm. Liu will be playing the part of the eponymous hero, while Awkwafina’s role has yet to be revealed. In an interview with Good Morning America, the Crazy Rich Asians star talked about playing a role in Marvel’s first Asian superhero flick and revealed that she could not be happier about the opportunity.

“I found out relatively recently about it, and I was floored,” Awkwafina shared. “I couldn’t believe it, and I met with Destin [Daniel Cretton], who will be directing us, and he’s just an incredible dude with such an insane vision.”

Awkwafina added that Shang-Chi has the potential to have a lasting impact in the MCU and is an important movie for the Asian community. Although Hollywood could definitely use more representation in film, movies like Shang-Chi are a great step forward. Awkwafina also believes that there is a huge market for Asian-led films and hopes that Marvel’s upcoming project will exceed expectations.

Awkwafina is also excited about Marvel’s lineup of female-led franchises and believes that it is a sign that things are changing. The actress hopes that these new directions become more permanent and are not just a trend.

What do we know about ‘Shang-Chi’?

Marvel officially confirmed the Shang-Chi film during an appearance at Comic-Con International. Rumors of the project first surfaced back in 2018. Apart from Liu and Awkwafina, we know that Tony Leung Chiu-Wai will appear as the movie’s villain, The Mandarin, while David Callaham is writing the screenplay and Daniel Cretta is directing.

Production for the film is expected to begin in the coming months, with primary shooting taking place in Sydney. Aside from these details, Marvel has been very tight-lipped about the storyline, though that will likely change once production gets underway.

In the comics, Shang-Chi is a Chinese-American who specializes in unarmed combat. He first appeared in print in 1973, around the same time that David Carradine was starring in Kung Fu. Shang-Chi became a part of The Avengers in 2013, though he has spent the majority of his time as a solo superhero.

Shang-Chi does not have a superpower, at least in the traditional sense. Instead, he has the talent of mastering various forms of fighting, including the art of Kung Fu. Marvel is expected to introduce Shang-Chi to other heroes in the MCU, though details of future crossovers have not been revealed.

Mandarin gets a reboot

Shang-Chi fans were thrilled when Marvel announced that Mandarin will be the main villain in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Mandarin is an antagonist in the Iron Man comics and made an appearance in Iron Man 3. Ben Kingsley portrayed the villain, though fans were largely disappointed by the way Marvel brought the character to life.

In the short film, All Hail the King, we learned that the real Mandarin is the boss of a criminal organization called the Ten Rings.

As fans will recall, the Ten Rings is the same group of criminals that kidnapped Tony Stark in the original Iron Man movie. Stark ended up escaping the organization by building his first Iron Man suit.

Apart from Mandarin, we know that Cordo Gaines, a cybercriminal, Raza, and Jackson Norriss are a part of the Ten Rings. Beyond that, it is unclear how Marvel will adapt the storyline to the big screens.

While we wait for an official cast list, fans are excited about the possibilities of some major cameos in the movie. This includes possible appearances from Donnie Yen, Jet Li, and Jackie Chan, all of whom are real-life martial artists.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is scheduled to open in theaters on Feb. 12, 2021.