Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will introduce Simu Liu to a massive audience. The actor has developed a bit of a following from a pair of Netflix titles and other acting work but the Marvel Cinematic Universe stage is waiting for him as he preps to introduce another one of Thanos creator Jim Starlin's characters to the big screen. As it turns out, the actor always had a dream of portraying a super hero, long before being cast as Shang-Chi. Liu shared as much when he took a screenshot of a letter he wrote on social media two years ago, explaining why it was always so important to him to represent Asian culture on such a massive, heroic level.
"I've been fortunate to have been a part of two Canadian shows featuring Asian Canadian families," he wrote on Facebook two years (as he shared on Twitter on Tuesday). "As you might expect, the topic of diversity comes up quite often when I'm interviewed. Why is diversity important? Why does representation matter? I've never told this story but with #FirstTimeISawMe trending I'd like to weigh in.
"When I was struggling to make ends meet as an actor I took on a side job a superhero performer for kids' birthday parties. I could be any hero that didn't directly show their face, because we all know that there we no Asian superheroes out there.
"One day a Batman her had to cancel last minute and I was brought in to do the show. I had never shown my face before and was pretty anxious about how the kids would react. I wasn't prepared for how heartbroken I would be when I was pointed out by, of all people, a young Asian boy who said, 'You can't be Batman! You look like me!'
"Today I get asked all the time what my dream role as an actor would be, and with a straight face I say I want to play a superhero. I feel like that answer gets a lot of eye-rolls because as an actor I'm expected to idolize really dark and intense performers. I'm sorry but I can't ever stop thinking about that little boy who had already been taught to believe that he wasn't worthy of being a superhero because of the colour of his skin.
"Kid, I promise you, you will never see your superhero onscreen one day. I am working hard everyday to make that happen."
Liu would go on to be announced as the titular star of Shang-Chi at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, leading to a 2020 production for the first Asian super hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a release date in February of 2021. Believe it, do it.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on February 11, 2021.