As mentioned in today’s open, Marvel confirmed this weekend at Comic-Con that Simu Liu has been cast in the lead role in the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The film will be directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. So we have a director and we have a hero. Which means we need a villain.
The villain is the real Mandarin. As you recall, Ben Kingsley played the fake Mandarin in Iron Man 3. It was revealed in that movie that he was just an actor being controlled by someone else. In 2014, Marvel produced a short film in their One-Shots series, following up with Ben’s fake Mandarin in prison, where it’s revealed that the Mandarin, an authentic one, does indeed exist. And he will be played in the movie by none other than Tony Leung Chiu-wai, HOLY F-CKING SH-T.
If you’ve been reading this site a while, you’re probably familiar with the Tony Leung content. He is one of the most famous Chinese actors of all time, the first actor from Hong Kong to win Best Actor in Cannes. Have you seen The Departed? Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in that movie was originally Tony. Tony gave birth to that role – he’s the OG, literally. I have been obsessed with him since I was eleven years old watching him in Hong Kong soap operas. Tony Leung is a Chinese acting LEGEND. Which means Marvel is really going for it. And it’s extra exciting because Tony rarely plays the bad guy. But if he’s the bad guy, it means you’re not getting a one dimensional bad guy, you’re getting a big bad with alllll the dimensions – that’s how talented he is.
And there’s more. Awkwafina was also announced as part of the Shang-Chi cast. What a ride it’s been for Nora Lum. Last summer it was Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. This summer it’s The Farewell and Marvel. The Farewell, by the way, had another strong weekend as it expanded to more theatres in North America, solidifying its status as the independent blockbuster film of the year and increasing those award possibilities. In just two short years, less even, Awkwafina is establishing herself as one of the most versatile actors in the business.
When all this went down on Saturday, with Simu and Tony and Awkwafina, Sarah texted me to say that it was like Marvel was making a movie just for me. Obviously not. But the narcissist in me, naturally, is seeing it through this lens. Because it’s not just the casting, it’s the timing.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released on February 12, 2021. First of all, if we’re going by Chinese numerology, that date is lucky as f-ck. Look at all those “2s”. The number 2 in Chinese sounds a lot like the word for “easy”, easy as in “smooth”, smooth as in “smooth for success”. Also, you know what February 12 happens to be in 2012? It’s the first day of the lunar new year.
Shang-Chi is coming out on CHINESE NEW YEAR!
And you know what year it’ll be in 2021?
The Year of the Ox!
You know who’s an Ox?
Attached - Awkwafina in New York last week promoting The Farewell.