中国日报网 2019-09-19 08:57
Marvel Cinematic Universe announced the cast of its first Chinese superhero film on Sunday, quelling a week of online speculation but stirring new discussions among Chinese netizens.
Chinese Canadian actor Simu Liu, best known from the sitcom Kim's Convenience, will play the title role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
The cast includes Crazy Rich Asians star Nora Lum, better known by her stage name Awkwafina, and award-winning Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai.
Hawaii-born director Destin Daniel Cretton, who emerged with the 2013 indie favorite Short Term 12, will direct the film, which is scheduled to hit North American theaters on Feb 12, 2021.
Shang-Chi, a character who first appeared in a 1973 Marvel comic book, has a Chinese father and a mother who is a US citizen, according to Hollywood Reporter magazine.
According to Marvel's official site, Shang-Chi was raised by a renowned criminal mastermind as his heir and an assassin, but he discovered his father's evils and turned against him, becoming a martial arts master who fights for justice.
Last week, US entertainment industry magazine Variety reporter Justin Kroll tweeted that Marvel was testing actors of Chinese ancestry in their 20s for Shang-Chi, with the news going viral on Chinese websites.
Chinese netizens named their top picks for Chinese actors to play Shang-Chi, but few mentioned Liu.
Marvel's casting announcement set the web abuzz.
On the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, #TonyLeungChiu-waistarringnewMarvelfilm quickly accumulated 410 million views and spawned nearly 64,000 posts.
Leung plays The Mandarin, a supervillain and Iron Man's archenemy. It will be the second time The Mandarin has featured in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film－English actor Ben Kingsley played the fake version of the villain in Iron Man 3.
Some of Leung's fans complain that their idol－a Hong Kong cinema giant－will play a supporting character in a film starring a less well known Chinese Canadian actor.
"Liu is not popular in China. Many fans had never even heard his name before Marvel announced the cast," said Marvel superhero fan Wu Zhaojie.
Jiang Yong, an entertainment industry analyst, said China has a huge Marvel superhero film fan base. Marvel's Avengers: Endgame was the highest-grossing foreign film in China.
"Leung is one of a few Chinese stars who is recognized by Western audiences. The Marvel superhero films are shot for the global market, so the casting is seemingly a decision to also attract viewers in the rest of the world," Jiang said.
Film critic Raymond Zhou said one of the main reasons Marvel's first Chinese superhero film will be shot is because of Crazy Rich Asians, one of the most commercially successful Asian-themed Hollywood films in recent years.
As for the choice of Shang-Chi, a little-known character even to Marvel fans, Zhou said Marvel had made similar decisions on films about lesser known characters that paid off at the box office, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy films.
May 1, 2020: "Black Widow"
The Hollywood Reporter reported last July that Cate Shortland ("Lore") would direct the solo movie, which is said to be set before the events of 2012's "The Avengers."
David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, and Rachel Weisz also star in the film. Taskmaster will be the villain in the movie, and it sounds like we're finally going to learn what happened in Budapest.
November 6, 2020: "The Eternals"
Marvel has quietly been casting the film based around the group of immortal beings created by cosmic Gods. Richard Madden ("Game of Thrones"), Kumail Nanjiani ("Stuber"), Lauren Ridloff ("The Walking Dead"), Brian Tyree Henry ("Atlanta"), Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie will star in the movie.
February 12, 2021: "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"
Destin Daniel Cretton is directing the movie about the Master of Kung Fu. The character was introduced in the comics in 1973. Simu Liu will play the titular character. Awkwafina ("Ocean's 8") will also star.
Tony Leung will play the Mandarin. A fake version of the character, played by Ben Kingsley, appeared in "Iron Man 3."
May 7, 2021: "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"
The director of the first "Doctor Strange," Scott Derrickson, is back and he said he's going to make "the first scary MCU film." We're ready!
Benedict Cumberbatch will reprise his role as Dr. Stephen Strange. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) will be in the sequel, too. The events of her Disney+ series, " WandaVision," will directly tie in to "Doctor Strange 2."
November 5, 2021: "Thor: Love and Thunder"
Chris Hemsworth is getting a fourth "Thor" movie! The Hollywood Reporter reported "Thor: Ragnarok" director Taika Waititi will return to direct the sequel.
Tessa Thompson will also return as Valkyrie. Natalie Portman appeared on stage for the announcement of the movie as well. She's going to play a female version of Thor straight out of the comics.