Story at a glance

  • Simu Liu, known for his role in “Kim’s Convenience,” is starring in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
  • Comedian and rapper Awkwafina, who has been accused of cultural appropriation, is playing a supporting role in the film.
  • The film will be released in the United States on Sept. 3.

While Simu Liu admitted he was “pretty f---ing angry” about the cancellation of “Kim’s Convenience,” the sitcom that brought him international fame, a starring role in a Marvel superhero film is quite a consolation prize. On the Canadian actor’s 32nd birthday, the comic company released the trailer of Liu’s upcoming film, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

 

Liu will play Shang-Chi, also known as the Master of Kung Fu and Brother Hand in Marvel comics, in the character's live-action debut, set for release on Sept. 3. The role had special meaning for Liu, who shared in a video that as a struggling actor playing superheroes for childrens' birthday parties, he was only allowed to play characters with masks because of his race. So when Marvel announced its plans for Shang Chi, he tweeted at Marvel, "Hey are we going to talk or what?"


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They did him one better, offering him a role in the Marvel cinematic universe that even got Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talking. 

 

The symbolism of an Asian superhero comes as reports of anti-Asian hate crimes are surging in the United States — but was undercut to some by the appearance of Awkwafina, who plays a supporting role in the film, in the trailer. Online, critics of the former comedian and rapper decried her casting, noting past accusations that the actress culturally appropriated Black culture without credit, including a “Blaccent,” or an accent modeled after African American Vernacular English. 


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Still, the trailer’s reception was overall positive and the trailer had over 3 million views on YouTube by the afternoon. 


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Published on Apr 19, 2021