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Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu on why MCU gave a modern update to the superhero: ‘Certain things about original comics didn’t work from an Asian-American lens’

Simu Liu said while he read Shang-Chi comics before filming the movie to understand the character, director Destin Daniel Cretton has created a whole new character for MCU who just happens to have that name.

Written by Kshitij Rawat | New Delhi |
September 3, 2021 8:17:43 am
Shang-Chi , simu liuTony Leung plays the father of Shang-Chi and the head of Ten Rings organization. (Photo: Marvel)

Simu Liu essays the titular Marvel superhero in Destin Daniel Cretton’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the next big iteration in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Liu’s portrayal of the superhero has received positive response among critics (92 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes). Some say it is one of the best standalone entries in the MCU so far.

Apart from being an overall fun, exciting movie with superbly crafted action sequences, it also gives a much-needed update to the superhero.

Liu, while speaking to Indianexpress.com, said that while he read Shang-Chi comics before filming to understand the character, Dustin (director) told him that they wanted to create a whole new character who just happens to have that name.

The actor said that there are “certain things” the original Shang-Chi comics that do not work today from Asian-American perspective.

“Those comics were written by white people. And they didn’t necessarily understand an authentic Asian-American experience. So the character that came out… it never seemed like he was three-dimensional. He was very serious, spoke mostly mystical proverbs and, didn’t feel fleshed out. So we crafted this all new character and story. And it was this story about family that we thought was more important than then chasing after comic books or being authentic to the source material.”

Liu also explained the sheer joy of essaying what is clearly an iconic character, despite the stereotypical way it was written. He said donning the costume for the first time felt “incredible”.

“I knew how rare it was to have an Asian person putting on a superhero outfit, there really hasn’t been that many,” he gushed, adding, “I really enjoyed putting on the suit also because it was brand new. It was not like based on anything in the comics. I think it symbolises our new origin story that and that we were able to basically refresh this 50-year, a little outdated character. I’m really, really excited for the world to see it.”

Also starring Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, and Michelle Yeoh, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings releases on Friday.

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