After Black Widow's smashing debut, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings seems poised to leave its mark on the big screen, but the pandemic could spoil the party.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the upcoming MCU film is the second movie in the franchise's massive Phase 4 slate and will feature the debut of Simu Liu as the titular martial artist.
Aside from the fact that Shang-Chi is Marvel Studios' first foray into the realm of martial arts, this will also mark the introduction of the first Asian superhero in the successful mega-movie franchise.
Similar to the rest of the MCU projects in the post-Infinity Saga, Shang-Chi also experienced multiple delays due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The film was originally supposed to come out on February 12, 2021, but got pushed back to its current September release timeline.
As a result, Shang-Chi will be the first MCU film in Phase 4 that will experience an exclusive 45-day theatrical release. However, the emergence of the dangerous Delta variant of COVID-19 has led to speculation that the project will either get delayed or will have a hybrid Disney+ release similar to Black Widow.
Disney recently assured fans that this will not be the case, but this promise may have backfired due to an intriguing comment from the House of Mouse's CEO.
SHANG-CHI STAR FIRES BACK
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings lead star Simu Liu appeared to call out the latest comments of Disney CEO Bob Chapek about the exclusive theatrical release of the film in an emotional social media post.
To recap, during Disney's Q3 2021 Investor Call, Chapek mentioned that Shang-Chi would be an "interesting experiment" for the entertainment company, admitting that it will be yet "another data point" to inform the company's actions going forward amid the current theatrical environment.
This remark appears to have fired up Liu, with the actor strongly stating that they are not an "experiment." Instead, the MCU actor shared that they are the "underdog" and the "underestimated."
Liu continued by saying that "we are the celebration of culture and joy" that will continue to "persevere" after a tough year.
The Kim's Convenience actor ended his emotional remarks by making a promise to "make history" when the film premieres on September 3, 2021.
"We are not an experiment.
We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year. We are the surprise.
I’m fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US."
Meanwhile, on Instagram, Liu directly quoted the "interesting experiment" comment by Chapek.
Alongside the actor's remarks, several behind-the-scenes photos from Shang-Chi were also included.
SHANG-CHI IS NOT AN "EXPERIMENT"
Simu Liu has long been a champion of the Asian community even before he landed the lead role for Shang-Chi.
It's worth pointing out that Liu also made similar emotional posts for Kim's Convenience when the show got canceled, highlighting his displeasure with how the narrative abruptly ended while also calling out the writer's room for not having enough "East Asian and female representation."
Now, Liu's latest comments are a fitting reminder of how passionate and committed the actor is to the Asian community.
While Bob Chapek's remark was not a planned statement (considering that he was answering a question from one of the investors), many would agree that calling Shang-Chi an "interesting experiment" appears to convey that the film is merely a product and not an avenue to propel Asian representation on the global scene. There's also a sense that Chapek's comment is implying that Marvel's first Asian-led superhero movie is an experiment on whether it will have box office success or not.
Box office projections for the film are estimating a low turnout, which is understandable due to the fact that there are theater closures in Parts of the world. This is on top of the fact that other countries like the United States are in the midst of a surge in COVID cases due to the unexpected nature of the Delta variant.
Despite that, Liu's emotional call-out is understandable, and this should boost anticipation for Shang-Chi when it finally premieres in theaters.
Box office numbers and profitability aside, Shang-Chi's MCU debut is a monumental moment for the franchise, and Liu is right when he mentioned that the film will make history.
Fans will get to witness the Master of Kung Fu's historic debut when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres exclusively in theaters on September 3, 2021.