New Shang-Chi Star Originally Wanted to Play Sunfire or Namor for Marvel

Ahead of San Diego Comic-Con last week, there had been several months of rumors and reports that Marvel Studios was eyeing a solo Shang-Chi film. Kevin Feige confirmed the news during Marvel's Hall H panel on Saturday night, revealing that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would be arriving in theaters in 2021, and that Kim's Convenience star Simu Liu would be taking on the titular role.

You may not know much about Liu, but it turns out he's been working hard for a Marvel role for some time now. He publicly campaigned on Twitter for the Shang-Chi role (which ended up working out in his favor), but that wasn't anything really new to him.

During a 2018 interview, long before Shang-Chi was even an available role, Liu was asked which superhero he'd like to play. The actor dug deep in the history of X-Men and noted that he's always hoped to play Sunfire on screen. Well, that or Namor.

"So one is Sunfire," Liu began. "So Sunfire is one of the way back, OG member of the X-Men, he just never made it into the movies, for some reason I can't imagine why. But his name is Shiro Yoshida, he has a really cool backstory where he is basically raised as a terrorist with very anti-American values and then goes to America to plan an attack. It fails and then he realizes what he's doing is wrong and he kind of reforms himself into a superhero. Actually when I first started out in this industry, because I knew the film roles wouldn't just fall into my lap, I started just writing things on a whim. And I sketched out this 12-part series of a Sunfire perspective show, and I still have those files. It's very bad, but I put a lot of time into it when I was 22 and just getting started.

"And the other one I would love to play is Namor. Namor is probably a little bit more mainstream, he's a little more recognizable. He's kind of like the Marvel version of Aquaman. Depending on which comics you read he could be interpreted as Asian-American."

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While he didn't end up with either of those two roles, Liu certainly had his dream come true by landing Shang-Chi, one of the newest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to hit theaters on February 12, 2021. Destin Daniel Cretton is directing the film, with a script from Dave Callaham. Liu stars alongside Tony Chiu-Wai Leung and Awkwafina.