Acclaimed Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is finally making his long-awaited Hollywood film debut. And it’s in a Marvel superhero movie no less.
The actor known for his stirring performances in In The Mood For Love and Infernal Affairs will playing the iconic Marvel villain The Mandarin in the much anticipated Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings – the first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie to feature an Asian lead.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed the news at the San Diego Comic-Con Marvel Panel on Saturday (Jul 20).
According to Comicbook.com, this particular casting is a big deal, as it not only revisits the lingering issue of The Mandarin in the MCU, but also confirms a big fan theory about how The Mandarin may replace Marvel Comics villain Fu-Manchu as Shang-Chi's crimelord father.
This will be the second time The Mandarin will be featured in the MCU, with Ben Kingsley previously playing a fake version of the villain alongside Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3.
Newcomer Simu Liu – best known for his role in Kim’s Convenience – is set to star as the titular Shang-Chi, and will be the first Asian lead in a Marvel movie to date.
Awkwafina – who was most recently in The Farewell, Oceans’ 8 and Crazy Rich Asians – will play a yet unnamed role, alongside Leung and Liu. Destin Daniel Cretton has been tapped to direct a script written by Dave Callaham.
According to Variety.com, insiders say Liu was one of several actors who tested this week for the titular role and was chosen by Marvel just before the studio headed into Comic Con.
The original Marvel Comics Shang-Chi, follows Shang, a half-Chinese, half-American superhero created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin. In the comics, Shang-Chi is a master of many wushu styles, and an expert in the use of the staff, nunchaku and sword.
Shang-Chi first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 in 1973. He was created during a wave of kung fu mania in the 1970s, a result of the popularity of the Kung Fu TV series, which starred the late David Carradine.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is slated for a Feb 12, 2021 release. It'll be the third film for Marvel's fourth phase, coming right after Eternals starring Angelina Jolie, and will see Shang-Chi facing off against the Ten Rings organisation introduced in Iron Man.