Marvel Studios has officially announced Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and starring Simu Liu (Kim's Convenience) as the titular hero, for Phase 4 of their Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel has kept the specifics surrounding Phase 4 tightly under wraps, and it wasn't until this year's San Diego Comic-Con that the studio began revealing what's next for the MCU. Shang-Chi has long been rumored for Phase 4 of the MCU, with Cretton first attached to direct the project months ago and filming reportedly set to start in the fall.
Shang-Chi will be the first MCU movie to star an Asian-American lead actor, with previous rumored contenders for the role including Donnie Yen and Ludin Lin. However, Marvel was reportedly committed to casting an actor of Chinese descent and not another Asian ancestry, which is real sign of progress when it comes to casting non-White actors in major movie roles. It's promising, too, that the diversity extends behind the camera as well with Cretton's confirmation as director. And now, thanks to the announcement from Comic-Con, we know more about who will be involved with Marvel's Shang-Chi.
During Marvel Studios' panel in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, it was announced that Simu Liu is playing Shang-Chi. The movie will also star Tony Leung as The Mandarin (the real one) and Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians). With Cretton confirmed as director and Dave Callaham as screenwriter, Shang-Chi is all set to begin filming in the fall for a February 2021 release, officially joining The Eternals as part of the MCU's Phase 4.
As mentioned above, Marvel was looking to cast an actor of Chinese ancestry in the lead for Shang-Chi, and Liu fits the bill. Liu was born in Harbin, China before immigrating to Canada with his family when he was just five years old. He has appeared on Fresh off the Boat and The Expanse, but is probably best known for his role as Jung Kim on Kim's Convenience. During the panel, Liu revealed he had only tested for the role of Shang-Chi on Sunday and was cast the Tuesday prior to the announcement at Marvel's Comic-Con panel.
Along with the reveal that Liu is playing the lead in Shang-Chi, the other big surprise is Leung being cast as The Mandarin. As MCU fans will recall, Ben Kingsley played a version of the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 that was revealed as a fake. Leung, however, is the real deal and (if rumors prove true) may actually be Shang-Chi's father. It should also be noted that the subtitle for the film, Legend of the Ten Rings, is a direct reference to the Mandarin's terror organization. Awkafina's role in the film is still a mystery, but it's clear just from these early announcements along that Marvel is committed to making Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings another hit for the MCU.
Source: Marvel Studios