Marvel Studios' Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings promises to be unlike anything the MCU has ever produced before.
It may feel redundant to bring out the old "never been done before" when speaking of Marvel in 2021, but September's theatrical MCU release will truly be one-of-one. Not only is it the first Asian-led superhero film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it is the first full-fledged Kung-Fu flick in the franchise. Hand-to-hand combat is no stranger to the MCU, but the martial arts focus puts a whole new spin on the fight choreography.
Marvel has pulled out all the stops to ensure this Asian-led picture is the first of many by bringing in legendary Asian actors like Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh.
An MCU veteran and recently announced cast member of Shang-Chi has taken notice of the film's cast and has nothing but good things to say about it.
WONG PRAISES SHANG-CHI'S ENSEMBLE
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings promises to be a big leap for Marvel Studios, and the cast reflects that.
Speaking with Collider, Doctor Strange actor Benedict Wong applauded Shang-Chi's ensemble by calling back to a familiar line from Avengers: Endgame:
"It's the Asians Assemble. To have Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Ronny Chieng, Meng'er [Zhang], and Fala Chen, it feels very, very exciting. I've seen the trailer many, many times, and I'm very excited."
It may feel obvious for an Asian character to have a mostly Asian cast, but it doesn't change the importance.
White-washing has been an issue in Hollywood since major motion pictures became a staple of American culture. Films like Ghost in the Shell and Exodus: Gods and Kings were heavily criticized for casting white actors in the lead roles for stories based on Japanese and Egyptian source material, respectively.
Marvel Studios taking the initiative to green-light a film based on an Asian superhero is a good start, but ensuring it reflects its source material is the real victory.
Bringing in veteran Asian actors like Leung, up-and-coming household names like Awkwafina, and rolling the dice on relative unknowns like Simu Liu certifies that the franchise is taking this responsibility seriously.
As for Wong specifically, it's especially encouraging to hear how enthusiastic he is about this film. Wong is British, but his parents come from Hong Kong. Because of his Asian roots, the actor had a strong desire to work on the project. He previously admitted he was "pleased but crestfallen" that Shang-Chi was happening because he didn't anticipate being in it.
Lucky for Doctor Strange's right-hand man, Wong will not only appear in the movie, but he will also have his hands full with the Abomination.
Hopefully, that fight has enough prize money for the sorcerer to buy as many pints of Hunka-Hulka Burnin' Fudge as he wants.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3, 2021.