Into the Badlands star Lewis Tan really wants to be a superhero. He got to play Shatterstar for a few moments in Deadpool 2, and then he almost got the part of Shang-Chi in Marvel's upcoming blockbuster Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. He lost out on the part -- it went to his friend Simu Liu -- but rebounded pretty quick, earning the role of Cole Young in Mortal Kombat, ,Warner Bros.' upcoming adaptation of the long-running video game franchise. During a new interview in support of Mortal Kombat, Tan told Entertainment Tonight about the crushing disappointment of losing out on the Shang-Chi job, juxtaposed against getting Mortal Kombat shortly after.
Tan, who congratulated Liu on social media when he was cast, had been a fan-favorite to play the title role in Marvel's first movie with an Asian-heritage lead. He still maintains that he believes Liu is going to do a great job in the role, but acknowledges it stung for a minute.
"I just lost a crazy job -- a really, really high-caliber level job -- and I heard that news on a plane to Japan and I was, like, devastated," Tan told ET, setting the stage for the Mortal Kombat story. "I did this mediation course, and I came back and then I was on my way to Nashville, Tennessee, to race cars at NASCAR -- I was like, 'Maybe I'm the first Asian person to ever be in this place before!' -- and all of a sudden I get a phone call saying I got the role in [Mortal Kombat]. I was supposed to drive a car that day and I ended up not doing it because I was like, 'Uh oh! I need to be safe now because I've got an opportunity here.'"
In addition to Shatterstar (who died quickly as part of a gag in Deadpool 2 that killed off most of X-Force), Tan had a brief role in Iron Fist, playing the part of Zhou Cheng -- a part that's unlikely to come back again given the nature of the MCU's relationship with the Netflix shows.
With only about five months before the movie is released (at least in theory), Marvel Studios has only released cast information for Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings. That's even though it was set for a July release until it was delayed very recently..
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently set for release on September 3rd.