Simu Liu, who will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as its first leading Asian superhero when he headlines Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for Marvel Studios, admits the experience has been “terrifying” — and his initial call from the studio overseen by Kevin Feige left him “hysterical.” The Canadian actor was first announced as Marvel Comics' martial arts expert at San Diego Comic-Con in July, where Feige said the Disney-owned studio underwent “a really in-depth search to try to find somebody who will capture this character with all the dimensions that he deserves and it’s going pretty well… we found him.”
“It’s terrifying,” Liu said in a profile by South China Morning Post. “When I got the call from Marvel, I was crying, just hysterical, and I remember thinking immediately after, ‘Why am I crying?’ I think it was because this is such a wonderful opportunity, and my life is going to change forever. But I am going to have to say goodbye to certain parts of my life. There’s a kind of grieving process that has to start as well.”
It’s not all scary. “Kids are going to dress up like me for Halloween,” a smiley Liu said.
After Liu was cast, one of the star's cheeky tweets resurfaced: in a tweet published in December 2018, Liu wrote, “OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what #ShangChi.” Months later, Liu replied to his own tweet with a Marvel-like joke: “Well sh*t.”
“I didn’t just send a tweet and then they called,” Liu explained of the viral tweet that earned more than 62,000 likes. “[It was] a long process of phone conversations, callbacks and auditions that happened over a couple of months.”
Now tasked with convincingly portraying a character who is among the most skilled fighters in the entire Marvel universe, Liu is “training very hard” under stunt coordinator Brad Allan — described as “a phenomenal martial artist who trained under Jackie Chan” — and Allan has “assembled a wonderful team around me,” Liu noted.
Liu is “awesome,” Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton previously told MTV News. “There’s just an undefined thing that when somebody pops, everybody’s in agreement, and they’re just really excited.”
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If…? in Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021, and Black Panther 2 on May 6, 2022. Marvel Studios Disney+ series without release dates include Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk.