How Simu Liu’s Role Of ‘Shang-Chi’ Could Change How We See Saviors

How Simu Liu’s Role Of ‘Shang-Chi’ Could Change How We See Saviors

The first Asian superhero to hit the Hollywood big screen could shake up long-held images of good and evil. 

Marvel announced this month that the studio would be releasing “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” in 2020, the studio’s first film starring an Asian superhero in its over-25-year history. Simu Liu, who’s been gunning for a superhero role since 2014, told HuffPost that his role of Shang-Chi is “an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world following years of stereotypes and caricatures and tired tropes.” 

And if the upcoming movie’s villain The Mandarin, played by Tony Leung, avoids the age-old tropes, the film, by portraying Asians with more complexity and nuance, could challenge our notions of what gatekeepers of truth and justice can look like.

The role of the patriotic hero, fighting for the greater good has long been occupied by white men, with some rare exceptions like Black Panther. In the Marvel universe, the most patriotic of heroes, Captain America, is white, blonde-haired and blue-eyed, Yuen said.

“But even ‘alien’ superheroes like Thor fit this mold,” she continued. 

“Having an Asian superhero lead within the same Marvel universe shows the world that Asians can also be saviors,” she said. “This is huge.”

Liu explained to HuffPost that his new role feels “like progress.” Crediting those who came before him, from those on YouTube like Wong Fu Productions, who made content when Hollywood wasn’t so welcoming to Asian Americans, to sitcoms like “Kim’s Convenience” and “Fresh Off The Boat,” the actor said his upcoming film comes “on the heels of years of hard work.” 

“I’m honored that I played a small part in this fight, and I’m ready to bear that torch if and when it is asked of me.” 

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