Shang-Chi Actress Explains Why Evil Wenwu Attracted Mom Character (Exclusive)

By Russ Milheim Updated:
Marvel, Shang-Chi, MCU, Fala Chen, Wenwu, Mandarin

Warning - This article contains spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

When Iron Man 3 was released, many fans were upset by how the film adapted The Mandarin. Marvel caught on to this, as the studio went on to create a short film to retcon their twist, revealing in the process that there was a real Mandarin out there who wanted his name back.

Well now, eight years later, MCU fans can see who the real Mandarin really is, as the character stars in the newly released film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

When viewers first meet Wenwu, they’re greeted with a montage of him through the centuries using the Ten Rings to conquer and create fear. However, that all changes when, in search of the mystical city of Ta Lo, he runs into Jiang Li: Shang-Chi’s mom.

The two ended up falling in love, but with the two being vastly different in character, what did Fala Chen’s character see in him? 

Wenwu's Evil Attraction


Tony Leung’s Wenwu is portrayed as a through-and-through, evil, power-hungry, person when viewers first meet him. So why did such a peaceful protector like Fala Chen’s Jiang Li fall for him? 

The Direct had the opportunity to sit down and ask the actress that very question. Chen jokes that “[Wenwu] is played by the Tony Leung,” and how “it’s almost like impossible not to fall in love with him:”

“I mean, [Wenwu is] played by the Tony Leung, I mean if it was any other actor I’d have to ask the director and like, do some backstory like, research, imagination, but with Tony it’s just like it’s almost like impossible not to fall in love with him, right? He’s so charismatic, so charming, even when he’s angry you’re like ‘wooo, you're so handsome.’ So I feel like it’s, it’s almost like very natural.”

When it comes to the in-universe reason, Fala Chen says that “a lot of things happen for a reason…you’re destined to be at a certain place at a certain time…:”

“… I think in this mystical world, a lot of things happen for a reason, and I feel like, especially in the Chinese culture, you believe in fate, that you’re destined to sometimes fall in love with someone or meet someone. You’re destined to be at a certain place at a certain time, and very much I feel like Wenwu’s first encounter with Li, my character, is somehow meant to be.”

Wenwu Was Meant to Be

The pairing is certainly an interesting one. While it’s clear that there’s a connection during their first fight, one may not immediately think the two would go on to become lovers.

But as Fala Chen says, “a lot of things happen for a reason.” Jiang Li is likely very much tied to the idea of fate, and her connection to those mystical and spiritual ideas is found throughout the film.

It would have been really neat to have seen more of Wenwu and Li getting to know each other. While it’s probably not something that needs its own Disney+ show, just getting some flashbacks in future Shang-Chi projects would be plenty.

After all, more Tony Leung isn’t a bad thing—and it certainly doesn’t seem like something that Fala Chen would say no to.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing exclusively in theaters.

Release Date
September 03, 2021
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.