Shang-Chi Props Built a Life-Size Dragon for Simu Liu to Ride

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Ring hit theaters this month, and critics and audiences alike are both loving the movie. In honor of the film's release, ComicBook.com has gotten to chat with many folks from the cast and crew, including director Destin Daniel Cretton and the star, Simu Liu. This week, Adam Barnhardt spoke with Sean Walker, a VFX Supervisor from Weta Digital. During the interview, we learned the Ten Rings nearly looked entirely different and the Great Protector Dragon's eyes were based on Fala Chen's, who plays Shang's mom. Speaking of the movie's epic dragons, the prop department actually built a life-size dragon for Liu to ride.

"We needed to actually complete our dragon model before they even went into shooting. Once we'd done the model we had, we separated it and created fragmented sets that the on-set team literally carved out an exact replica, life-sized replica, of the top of the dragon head, a good chunk of the dragon's back and all the stunt work. And even the main actors Simu and Meng'er were just dangling off it with wires for a good chunk of the film," Walker revealed. 

During the interview, Walker also revealed that one person hand-molded thousands of scales for the dragon.

"It almost killed them, but yes, we did have one hand place 8,000 scales on the dragon," Walker shared. "He actually created the initial sculpt and so he wanted to look after it as a whole, so yeah, e had one modeler that did the entire dragon pretty much. And he hand-modeled every single one of those scales."

Not only did Shang-Chi have a record-breaking opening weekend at the box office, but it also earned the highest audience score of any Marvel Cinematic Universe film on Rotten Tomatoes. The movie currently has a 93% critics score on the site after 280 reviews, and it also has an impressive 98% audience score after 10,000+ reviews. ComicBook.com gave the movie a 4.5 out of 5, calling it "one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's best origin stories to date." Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Awkwafina as Katy, Meng'er Zhang as Xialing, Tony Leung as Wenwu, Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery, Fala Chen as Ying Li , Florian Munteanu as Razor Fist, Ronny Chieng as Jon Jon, and Benedict Wong as Wong. The movie was released with a 45-day exclusive theatrical window.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing in theaters.