Marvel Studios is in the final stages of preparation for its latest theatrical release, which will come with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theaters worldwide. Taking a deep look at the MCU's earliest days while bringing in Simu Liu as the titular Master of Martial Arts, Shang-Chi has the opportunity to add an exciting new chapter to the MCU's ever-expanding narrative.
2021 has been a particularly difficult year for the MCU even with its biggest slate of releases ever, thanks to the troubles behind releasing movies in theaters and all the delays that have come with it.
Much of it started when Scarlett Johansson sued Disney over the dual theatrical/streaming release for Black Widow, which has been one of the most prominent news stories outside the MCU's on-screen adventures. Disney CEO Bob Chapek then made comments on how Shang-Chi's exclusive theatrical run would be something of an "experiment" for the studio, after which Simu Liu called him out for the remark.
As it turns out, those comments weren't as harmful for Liu as fans may have expected them to be.
No Repercussions for Simu Liu
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu spoke with USA Today about his experience with Disney after calling out CEO Bob Chapek for his remarks on the movie's release being an "experiment." Liu told the outlet that he didn't get any flak internally, although he clarified that he "wanted people to know that (he) was fired up about it."
Liu made it clear that he felt a need "to fight the battle for the people that come after (him)" in his attempts to see more representation in Hollywood. Looking back at a generation that was taught to "put [their] head down," Liu is beginning to see the "limitations" of thinking like this in his line of work:
“If it's true that I wouldn't have had a career if it weren't for these conversations about diversity, the importance of representation, then I need to continue to fight that battle for the people that come after me. All around me, I saw people who were taught by their parents, as I was, to just toe the line, not ruffle the feathers, not rock the boat too much and just put your head down, do your work and that's it. And I think that as a community, we're reaching the limitations of that kind of thinking."
Liu admits that his Twitter account "will always be a roller-coaster ride," even saying some of it may be "absolute idiocy." On top of that, he looked at how he's become the first Asian leading man in the MCU and confirmed that that's what holds "special significance" for him as an actor:
“I might be tweeting a lot of things in the future, some of which will be absolute idiocy.”
A Fight For Representation From Liu
Simu Liu has consistently spoken about his appreciation and humility for getting to play the first Asian leading superhero within the MCU, and especially getting to make the film with a predominantly Asian cast and crew. While Chapek's comments came as a shock in the moment, it appears that Liu is still looking to go down the path he's traveled for most of his career with his fight for representation regardless.
With Shang-Chi taking a deep dive into Chinese and Asian culture, Liu and his cast mates looked to bring the best of that culture into play and make sure the Asian community was put on screen the right way. Disney looks to have understood this mission as well when they didn't reprimand Liu for his comments, and it's clear that the two are simply looking to deliver the best movie possible through this experience.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will debut in theaters on September 3.