Simu Liu lands lead role as Marvel’s first Asian superhero

The Chinese-Canadian actor will play Shang-Chi in the new movie set to come out in 2021.

Marvel has their man — and Hollywood has another new Asian star to get excited about.

Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu was announced on Saturday as the lead on the upcoming superhero film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

The reveal was made at San Diego’s Comic-Con on Saturday, and according to CBC, Liu reportedly “was screen tested just a week ago and found out he was cast on Tuesday — two days before Comic-Con began.”

The movie will hit theatres February 12, 2021.

Photo Credit: Marvel Twitter

Speaking to the audience at the event about becoming the first ever Asian lead in a Marvel film, he said, “All I’ve ever wanted to do when I was growing was make (my parents) proud. What I’m trying to say is, I’m really happy I’m not a doctor. So, take that mom and dad.”

A face familiar with Canadian audiences as an actor on Kim’s Convenience, Liu spoke with Cold Tea Collective in December, and when asked what the future holds for Asians on screen, there were something prophetic to his words.

“As writers and performers, we all need to be ready for that wave that’s coming,” Liu said. “I have numerous script ideas that I’m working on, and you know there have been rumblings going on.

“If you have something you know you wanna do but you’re trying to suppress it within yourself, I’m saying you need to give yourself that permission. Don’t be afraid to step into the spotlight.”

Simu Liu and Cold Tea Collective Co-Founder Natasha Jung sat down for an interview in December 2018.
Photo Credit: Cold Tea Collective

Also announced as stars on the show is Awkwafina — whose film The Farewell premiered in Canada this weekend — and Hong Kong’s acting legend Tony Leung — also known as one of the Five Tiger Generals of TVB.

Immigrated from China at age five with his family, Liu was raised in Mississauga, Ont. His credits include appearances in Orphan Black, Fresh Off the Boat, and Blood and Water.

Chalk this up to another big step for Asians in entertainment.

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