If there’s anything that can liven up the year with some good ol’ superhero movie hype, it’s definitely a Marvel film!
Maybe you’ve already heard, but Marvel Studios just dropped the second official trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings last June 25, Friday. The highly anticipated film, which is slated to be the second out of four planned for this year’s Phase 4 lineup, is Marvel’s first major project with an Asian main character and cast. Shang-Chi precedes both The Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home and follows the delayed Black Widow film, which will air on July 9.
Shang-Chi’s latest two-minute teaser provides an intriguing peek at the titular character’s struggles against what appears to be his father’s wishes for him to succeed the family business — namely, The Ten Rings, the secretive terrorist organization bent on destroying world peace by any means necessary. Shang-Chi, of course, prefers to escape his life as an assassin and wishes to instead live a peaceful life in San Francisco. Family drama ensues. And so the plot unfolds.
But who exactly is Shang-Chi, and what exactly can we expect from this action-packed movie?
No need to worry. We’ve come up with a starter guide just for you! Here are four cool facts you need to know about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:
1. Shang-Chi is based on a Marvel comic book character.
We’re just stating the obvious here. Like most leading characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Shang-Chi is based on a fictional comic book character of the same name. Conceptualized in late 1972, Shang-Chi, also known as Master of Kung Fu and Brother Hand, was originally conceived to be a highly proficient martial artist whose evil father Fu Manchu — renamed as Wenwu in the film — repeatedly attempts world domination.
As a popular character during the 1970s, it isn’t surprising to see that, during the later comic editions, Shang-Chi was also revealed to be one of the earlier members to be included in the Avengers roster. We can only bemoan how it’s taken this long for him to make it on the silver screen. It’s more than about time that they introduced an Asian member to the MCU Avengers team!
2. The film is led by a predominantly Asian cast.
Marvel Studios’ first Asian lead is none other than the fun and athletic Simu Liu — a rising Chinese-Canadian actor and stuntman whose impressive background includes an aptitude in gymnastics, as well as a mastery of martial arts such as Taekwondo and Wing Chun. He is best known for his role as Jung Kim in the sitcom Kim’s Convenience, as well as his (read: successful) Twitter campaigns to bring to life the Asian superheroes we deserve.
Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) July 17, 2014
People ask why I go shirtless a lot; look, I’m just waiting for Hollywood to make me a superhero suit. #stillwaiting #sunfire #namor #terrymcginnis #amadeuscho pic.twitter.com/pl10lUHURb
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) July 9, 2018
Thanks for getting back to me https://t.co/FFRuM03p20
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) July 21, 2019
In addition to Liu, Shang-Chi’s star-studded cast include internationally recognized names Awkwafina, who stars as the hotel valet Katy; Tony Leung as Wenwu / The Mandarin; Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan; Fala Chen as Jiang Li; and Ronny Chieng as Jon Jon. The film is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who is of half-Asian descent.
3. One of the official OSTs is performed by Chinese K-Pop artist Jackson Wang.
A great movie always has a great soundtrack, but none of the OSTs are actually officially revealed yet. The little we do know is owed in thanks to the internet, who decided to do some investigations after the first Shang-Chi trailer was released with a dazzling hip hop track. Although an official public announcement has yet to be released as of this writing, online viewers were quick to recognize that the unique vocals present on the teaser belonged to Jackson Wang, a Chinese member of the popular but now disbanded K-pop group GOT7.
Generating even more hype among Asian crowds and K-pop followings, eagle-eyed fans eagerly pointed out Instagram posts and stories that 88rising, an American music label that collaborates with Asian artists like Jackson Wang to release their music in the United States, uploaded to their official account upon the trailer’s release.
GET OUT 88rising reposted Shang-Chi trailer, so JACKSON WANG MARVEL OST???? 👀 pic.twitter.com/5FRwSqwIyN
— wang ˢⁿᵉᵃᵏʸ (@sneakyseunie) April 19, 2021
4. Shang-Chi is the first new leading character to be introduced in Phase 4.
As a refresher course, the MCU’s first three film phases refer to the Infinity Saga, which spans the 23 films that started off with Iron Man (2008) and concluded with Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019). Although Black Widow will be the first Phase 4 film to be released, Natasha Romanov is a name that even the most casual of Marvel viewers already know, so she doesn’t count.
Following the legacy of the fallen Avenger is Shang-Chi, whose introduction officially kicks off a new chapter for the MCU. While details of how this might happen so far remain unclear, what the trailers have revealed are various easter eggs that intriguingly call back to past films: Is Wong fighting the Abomination? Is The Ten Rings actually the real Mandarin?
Why is our favorite mystic arts master from 2016’s Doctor Strange battling the mostly forgotten antagonist of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk? How does The Ten Rings, the mysterious terrorist organization that kidnapped Tony Stark and started our MCU journey, play into the future?
We don’t know, but Shang-Chi will! And we can’t wait to find out.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings is scheduled for global release in theaters on September 3, 2021.