Simu Liu Empowers Fans as Shang-Chi Wraps Filming
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to finish filming. Officially announced last summer at San Diego Comic-Con, Shang-Chi stars Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu as the Master of Kung Fu. And, breaking barriers, it will be the first MCU film lead by an Asian superhero. Although few plot details are currently known, there is already a lot of buzz surrounding Shang-Chi, demonstrating once again that stories centering POC can deliver at the box office (like Black Panther did in 2018).
According to Kevin Feige, the movie features a “98% Asian” cast, including Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Ronnie Chieng, and Tony Chiu-Wai Leung. As the first round of filming on Shang-Chi wraps, the cast and crew posted celebratory photos on social media.
On October 24th, Liu shared a heartfelt post on Instagram about wrapping up production on the movie. He said, “We made a baby!!! We can’t wait to introduce [the movie] to the world in 9 months.”
The film’s director Destin Daniel Cretton also posted a to-the-point statement on his social media on October 24th. An Instagram photo from that day features the director, his wife Nikki Chapman, his sister Joy Cretton, and actor Zhang Meng announcing that Shang-Chi wraps filming. The caption for the post simply reads: “WE. ARE. WRAPPED.”
Shang-Chi Makes History Despite Production Delays
According to Variety, in February 2020, Shang-Chi started the first-unit production in Australia. However, Marvel temporarily halted production on the film in March when the director, Cretton, decided to self-isolate under his doctor’s recommendation. Disney and Marvel fully supported the director’s decision, and suspended first unit production.
Thankfully, on March 16th, Cretton announced that he tested negative for the coronavirus. However, just like on many film sets, production remained suspended for months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Filming finally resumed in August, as confirmed by aerial footage.
Shang-Chi is OUR Movie
Asian and Asian American actors struggle with representation on-screen and behind the scenes. Asian characters are underrepresented in Hollywood, historically. According to a study cited in Post Magazine, Asian Americans make up 6 percent of the population in the United States, but only account for 1 percent of the leading roles in Hollywood.
When Asian characters are portrayed on-screen, it is often done poorly. In Hollywood, Asian characters are often heavily stereotyped and written to support the white leads.
According to Liu, “representation is not just the ability to see yourself reflected on screen, but to see what you can be. So if [you] see Asians portrayed as losers and nerds, at least on a subconscious level, that’s all [you] believe [you] can be.”
Liu hopes that Shang-Chi is a hero for children to look up to and see that they can be more. TheWrap reported that Liu explained in a private Facebook group the importance of the first Asian-lead superhero movie at Marvel. Liu wrote on Facebook:
Nine months from now we will break records and make history as the first superhero movie to feature an ALL-ASIAN cast that kicks so much ass it’s not even funny. Well, that’s a lie, actually, it’s quite funny too.
For all of those who hated us because of the color of our skin, or been made to feel less than because of it; NO MORE. This is OUR movie, and it will be IMPOSSIBLE for Hollywood to ignore us after this.
Fan Reactions to Shang-Chi Wraps Filming
It seems like fans mostly agree with the actor’s sentiment that is a milestone in Hollywood; for example, this fan is excited and scared since details about the plot are under wraps.
Shang-Chi is based on a 1970s comic character created by artist Jim Starlin and writer Steve Englehart to respond to the television program Kung Fu. In the comics, Shang-Chi is the son of a super villain who is the head of a global criminal organization based in China.
When the character was created, it “was steeped in Asian ‘Fu Manchu’ stereotypes, which would not fly today,” according to Deadline. However, some people believe the movie will modernize the hero to avoid stereotypes.
Hopefully, the film will subvert negative stereotypes associated with the original intellectual property and be “so much more than a Kung Fu movie.”
Originally, the original release date for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was February 2021; however, production delays due to the pandemic have pushed back the release date. According to the current Marvel Studios’ release schedule, the film will hit theaters on July 9th, 2021. And, with the cultural power of the MCU behind it, Shang-Chi might be the first Asian-fronted movie to gross over $1 billion worldwide.
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