Marvel Studios announced "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" at San Diego Comic Con on Saturday, starring the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first Asian superhero to headline their own movie. For Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it's uncertain whether director Destin Daniel Cretton will draw on Liu's comedy roots, but since it's a Marvel movie, we can assume it will have its tongue firmly planted in its cheek.
The Marvel slate also includes The Eternals, directed by Chloé Zhao, which will star Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh and Angelina Jolie as Thena.
In Marvel Comics, Shang-Chi is the ultimate Kung-Fu master who can create his replicas. The role was referenced in the very first Marvel film "Iron Man" in 2008 through the name of a terrorist group known as The Ten Rings, while an impostor of the Mandarin was played by Ben Kingsley in "Iron Man 3".
Liu's most prominent role to date has been on "Kim's Convenience", a Canadian sitcom about a Korean-Canadian family running a store in Toronto.
Leung is joined by Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu and Asian-American rapper-turned-actress Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) in the main cast. But it turns out Liu asked for the job months ago on Twitter.
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The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Chinese and other entities for allegedly helping Iran buy materials for its nuclear program. Tensions surrounding Iran "have likely added to the already strong geopolitical risk premium", JBC Energy said in a note.
And, crucially, what on Earth is Shang-Chi?
Like all the big superheroes, Liu forged a secret identity, of sorts - Liu says he pursued acting for months without telling his parents. "The Mandarin is obviously a substitute for Fu Manchu, who was Shang Chi's father in the comics". She's attached to the film, but details on who she's set to play have yet to surface.
This is Marvel's first feature film featuring an ensemble of Asian and Asian-American cast and crew members.
The films will be part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) that started with 2008's Iron Man and has generated more than $22-billion at box offices worldwide. Marvel president Kevin Feige delivered the news to thousands of fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday.