Marvel's Shang-Chi: Awkwafina Teases Her Secretive New MCU Role

By Richard Nebens Updated:
Awkwafina, Shang-Chi comic

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to be absolutely jam-packed with content in 2021, bringing four new movies to theaters and as many as six new series to Disney+. This will kick off with the high profile releases of WandaVision in January and Black Widow in May, although there are still some new properties flying under the radar through all the madness.

One of these new properties is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which will help fill in some notable gaps in the MCU's expansive timeline upon its release next summer. Simi Liu's titular hero will show off powers never before seen in the franchise's first twelve years, and this film is rumored to flesh out at least a few details of what life was like during the five-year gap between Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Outside of Shang-Chi himself, this new solo film will introduce the world to a handful of new faces taking on their first experience with the MCU, and there are still a few of them whose roles are still a complete mystery even with principal photography finished for the film. This includes the up-and-comer Awkwafina, who recently took the opportunity to share her excitement joining the world's most prominent movie franchise.


In a new interview with Style Caster, MCU newcomer Awkwafina gave a few small teases about her upcoming appearance in 2021's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. While her character's name and profile are still a secret, she shares this quote while expressing how excited she is to work in the "utopia" that is the Marvel universe:

"There’s a little bit of me in every character I play, which is a good and bad thing. I do feel like I can relate to her. I can’t say much about the role, but I can say that she is thrust into a world where she doesn’t really know what to do. At the same time, she’s discovering things about herself."

When asked how Marvel avoids all sorts of Asian tropes and stereotypes as they bring their first Asian leading hero to the big screen, Awkwafina shared this bit of information explaining the team's process:

"When you think about certain things that have characterized Asians and Asian Americans in American media, you think about things like kung fu and martial arts. While this movie is actually about that, we were able to work with world-class stunt teams of people where this is their livelihood. So the authenticity that the studio and Destin approached those tropes is very, very special."

On a much lighter note, Awkwafina also added this quote on which MCU characters she would most like to meet in real life, and she doesn't disappoint:

"This is public knowledge that I love Groot. I enjoy Loki. I Loki. There are a lot. But Groot, if I could meet anyone, I’d like to meet Groot to just hang out. Maybe also WandaVision."


While most of the MCU world would give a literal arm and leg to meet any of the four characters Awkwafina mentioned, it's refreshing to see how much she loves the same heroes and anti-heroes as the fandom she is joining. The only real mystery she leaves is which particular version of Groot she would most enjoy meeting, but any of the three evolutionary stages would be a fantastic interaction along with Loki, Wanda Maximoff and Vision. It will also be exciting to see her reactions to the new WandaVision and Loki Disney+ series, both of which will release in 2021, as Marvel Studios expands more on their individual stories.

In terms of her role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it's fantastic to hear just how much she can relate to the role she's playing even though she gives no indication as to whom it may be. It will also be interesting to find out what the world is like when she first arrives, with rumors pointing to the plot taking place in the year 2020. This would put Shang-Chi and crew two years into the five-year time period when half the universe was snapped out of existence by Thanos, and there will surely be great deal of pain and suffering put on display alongside other challenges ahead of them in the movie.

Marvel Studios is also putting a renewed energy into its diversity and representation going into Phase 4, and Awkwafina makes it clear that director Destin Daniel Crettin and his team are taking every measure necessary to make this film as authentic as possible. Reports have already detailed just how incredible the stunt work is for all the martial arts action, even for an MCU movie, and it's becoming evident that this action will only enhance the story behind the first Asian superhero in MCU history.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has completed principal photography and will release in theaters worldwide on July 9, 2021.

Release Date
September 03, 2021
- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.