Marvel’s newest superhero will face down a distant father and evil ninjas in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and star Simu Liu has his hands full in real life too, fighting for respect for his movie and the team behind it.
Disney’s trying just about everything with theatrical releases these days, attempting to thread the needle between keeping audiences safe and making some money. Those two things don’t always go together, and that’s especially true during the pandemic surge much of the country is enduring right now. One way Disney is attempting to hedge the disappointing box office numbers put up by the likes of Black Widow and The Suicide Squad is by releasing Marvel’s upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to theaters exclusively for 45 days.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek told investors that “On Shang-Chi, we think it’s actually going to be an interesting experiment for us …The prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to the service after going theatrical with 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles.”
That grated against Liu, who didn’t relish the idea of his movie being considered an experiment for investors. “We are not an experiment,” Liu posted on social media. “We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year. We are the surprise.”
We are not an experiment.
We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year.
We are the surprise.
I’m fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US. pic.twitter.com/IcyFzh0KIb
— Simu Liu (刘思慕) (@SimuLiu) August 14, 2021
Shang-Chi is Marvel’s first movie to star a superhero of Asian decent. In fact, the cast is 98 percent Asian, so whatever Chapek intended by his words, the sour impact of them is certainly understandable.
Liu has a history of standing up for his castmates in the face of marginalization. After Kim’s Convenience came to a close, Liu wrote frankly about his disappointment with how the largely white writer’s room handed Asian stories. “Our producers were overwhelmingly white and we were a cast of Asian Canadians who had a plethora of lived experiences to draw from and offer to writers,” Liu wrote. “There was deliberately not a lot of leeway given to us.”
In the meantime, the Marvel machine is gearing up for Shang-Chi‘s release. Tickets went on sale this week and Marvel dropped a brand new clip of the movie online. Don’t watch if you’ve got a thing about heights, but definitely do watch if you like martial arts action.