Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is all about family, and star Simu Liu says his immigrant parents are “proud” after seeing a Chinese-language poster for Marvel’s first Asian superhero movie. The latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, releasing only in theaters on September 3, follows martial arts hero Shang-Chi (Liu), who confronts his past and the mysterious Ten Rings organization lorded over by his warrior-king father Wenwu (Tony Leung). Reunited with his estranged sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Shang-Chi will become the Master of Kung-Fu as he fights to claim the Ten Rings that gave his family power.
In real life, the Chinese-born Canadian actor says his parents were “decidedly unimpressed” with his career until he “showed them the Chinese-language poster” for Marvel’s Shang-Chi, Liu wrote on Instagram. “NOW they’re proud.”
Liu, who previously starred in the fan-favorite Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience, revealed in 2019 that he was writing a book about his immigrant parents and “the struggles they faced coming [to Canada].” (Publisher Harper Collins describes “We Were Dreamers,” releasing in 2022, as “an immigrant superhero origin story” about Liu, a former accountant who “battles everything from parental expectations to cultural stereotypes” in his journey to becoming Marvel’s Shang-Chi.)
“I immediately told my parents. You can’t hold news like that inside you. It was my Cinderella moment,” the actor previously told Bay Street Bull about Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announcing Liu would star in Shang-Chi at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019.
Telling his family about the role “definitely felt like I was coming back full circle,” Liu said. “It felt good to be able to tell them because I felt like my whole journey into acting, even though my parents had come to understand it and even support it, there was always a lingering sense of uncertainty. This call to them meant finally being able to alleviate that uncertainty.”
That theme of family kicks into action in Shang-Chi, according to producer Jonathan Schwartz.
“The core of Shang-Chi’s arc in the comics is really a family drama,” the Captain Marvel and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 EP previously told Entertainment Weekly. “That was something that [director] Destin [Daniel Cretton] keyed into really early on in our conversations, the idea of taking this broken family and this really dark, even abusive family background and seeing what that does to a child over time.”
Starring Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Ronny Chieng, Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens only in theaters on September 3.