SHANG-CHI: Michelle Yeoh’s Character Explained
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the incredible and invincible actor Michelle Yeoh plays an important role… but there’s a reason you don’t see her in much of the promotional material, Marvel Blog True Believers!
SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t had a chance to watch Shang-Chi yet and you want to avoid spoilers, then you should get on your white dragon and leave this page now! Consider reading the Marvel Blog round-up of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings reviews in the meantime.
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Yeoh plays Ying Nan, the aunt of Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) on their mother’s side.
In the third act of Shang-Chi, which does not disappoint, Shang-Chi and Xialing visit the ancient village where their mother, Ying Li (Fala Chen) was from. Although much of Wenwu’s (Tony Leung) storyline is driven by a mistaken-obsession with his wife being held prisoner against her will in Ta-Lo, things aren’t actually what that seem…
Because Shang-Chi and Xialing’s mother died when they were children, they must rely on their aunt’s testimony in order to learn their connection to Ta-Lo.
The aunt’s role is essential in order to deliver exposition about Shang-Chi’s familial backstory, and it makes sense that they would bring in an all-out dramatic powerhouse like Yeoh to cover this important dialogue.
Plus, Marvel Studios and Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton needed a legitimate movie star to stand up against the carved wooden wall that shows us what happened in the past visually (more on this incredible wooden relief as soon as we can find more information, Marvel Blog True Believers), as well as a movie star who could throw a punch as well as she could act… and Yeoh meets both requirements.
In Marvel’s Asked & Answered, Yeoh said, “The training scene with Shang-Chi and Ying Nan. Luckily, Simu says the same thing too. He actually wrote to me and said, ‘I love the scene where you kick my butt.’”
Intriguingly, this isn’t the first role played by Yeoh in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
She previously appeared as Aleta Ogord, one of the Ravagers who appeared at Yondi’s funeral in the final moments of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
And if you want to see her outside of the MCU, consider Star Trek: Discovery, where she plays the role of a bridge crew member (in other words, even if she dies, she’s going to come back – see also “mirror universe switcheroo”).
Mirror Mirror Mirror, Mirror Mirror Mirror Mirror
Which one of Yeoh’s MCU characters is your favorite? Do you think we’ll see more of Aleta Ogord and Ying Nan? Have you had a chance to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings yet?
We’re waiting to hear from you, Marvel Blog True Believers! Let us know in the comment section.