Shang-Chi and the legends of the ten rings
Marvel Studios is no stranger when it comes to being in the attention of any pop-fanatic or movie-goer. It’s amazing to see how it has evolved, from a little boy’s dream in New York (… Yes, I’m talking about Stan Lee) to what it is today, having a full-house panel at the annual San-Diego Comic-Con Convention. So, while we awed upon the coming back of original all-time favourite avengers’ characters like Thor, Black Widow and even, Hawkeye, let’s look at what we know so far about Marvel’s first Asian-led movie – Shang-Chi and legend of Ten Rings.
Asian representation meets pop culture
Following the success of Black Panther (2018), I believe all of us Asians can finally hail our hearts proudly and anticipate our representation in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Shang-Chi and legend of the Ten Rings sets itself from the original plotline continuing from Iron Man 3 (2013) where the story debunks the actual protagonist, the real Mandarin, played by the all-talented Tony Leung. The studio dropped hints at the convention with the forthcoming movie picking up a theme of “seeking vengeance” after being pissed-off from the events following continuous imitation by Extremis. And, having “Tony” Leung (The irony…) play the role has never been more fitting. After all, Leung has a long list of characters under his belt like the almighty Zhou Yu from Red Cliff (2008), I believe the Asian version of the Mandarin is definitely one to look forward to.
The casting surprises
Having an Asian-led movie means to have the studio search for talented Asian actors. So, while this might be easy traditionally in Hollywood relying on casting favourite like John Chu or Lucy Liu, Marvel had chosen to continue its long string of surprise with a different approach, casting actors like Awkwafina and Simu Liu instead. This was a surprise to many, especially for industry on-lookers, given the roles these actors have been in originally on the silver screen, and it’s an interesting mix to see how such a big and influential studio switches up the dynamics in casting options for the industry. Ultimately, this could set the tone and invite increasing vibrancy of how Hollywood evolves towards a greater future.
The Marvel way
One of the most iconic things about what Marvel Studios does is that it creates uncertainty. From what we heard originally about blurted out and false scripts, to giving out false filming schedules for her actors, Marvel certainly has its ways to contain its story and production confidentiality. And, this trend continues unprecedentedly in Shang-Chi and legend of Ten Rings. Simu Liu mentioned at the convention that he was only cast five days just before the announcement of phase four at the convention and how this role came as a surprise for him, even as an actor. So, it is definite that we can expect a lot more along the way as the production commences and prepare ourselves for eggs hunt leading up to the release in 2021.