Cover Awkwafina plays Katy, Shang-Chi's close friend in Shang-Chi And The Legend of The Ten Rings (Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images)

Starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh and more, meet the cast of Marvel’s new Asian superhero movie, Shang-Chi And The Legend of The Ten Rings

Marvel’s first Asian-led superhero movie, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings, has arrived in Hong Kong cinemas. Marvel released the movie’s trailer on star Simu Liu’s 32nd birthday back in April, and fans have been eagerly waiting for the newest MCU movie ever since. 

In celebration of Shang-Chi’s red carpet world premiere and global cinema release on September 2, 2021, we’re introducing the cast of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings so you’ll be all caught up when it finally opens. 

See also: Shang-Chi Premiere: All The Highlights From The Red Carpet

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi

The tale of how Chinese-Canadian actor, Simu Liu got the role of Shang-Chi is a wild one. Following the release of Captain America and Thor, the star jokingly asked Marvel about the possibility of an Asian American hero on Twitter back in 2014. When Marvel announced the Shang-Chi movie four years later, Liu sent another tweet their way, cheekily saying “Okay, Marvel. Shall we talk or what?” The rest is history. Liu will be playing as the movie’s main character, Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist whose father trained him from a young age to become an assassin. 

The new Asian superhero was born in Harbin, China before immigrating to Canada when he was five. After dabbling in a career in business, he decided to call it quits to pursue acting instead and got his first role as an extra in 2013’s Pacific Rim. Using his background in martial arts and gymnastics, the actor also did stunt doubles for shows such as Heroes Reborn before landing a regular role on Canadian television series, Blood and Water. However, Liu’s most notable role prior to Marvel would probably be Jung from CBC’s sitcom series, Kim’s Convenience, which followed the Kims, a Korean Canadian family who own a convenience store in Toronto. 

See also: Disney+ To Launch In Hong Kong This November 2021

Awkwafina as Katy

The role of Shang-Chi’s close friend, Katy, is played by Nora Lum, better known as Awkwafina. Born and raised in New York to a Chinese American father and Korean American mother, Awkwafina rose to fame when her rap song, My Vag gained traction on Youtube. She then released two albums, Yellow Ranger and In Fina We Trust, in 2014 and 2018 respectively. 

During that time, the rapper and actor gained supporting roles in films such as Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. In 2019, she played the lead character in The Farewell, which won her the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical, becoming the first Asian woman to win a Golden Globe in that category. If you’ve watched Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, you might recognise her voice as Sisu the dragon.

Tony Leung Chiu-wai as Wenwu

Hong Kong viewers will likely recognise the actor playing Wenwu, Shang-Chi’s father and the leader of the terrorist group Ten Rings. Actor and singer Tony Leung Chiu-wai, who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Wong Kar-Wai’s In The Mood For Love in 2002, is regarded as one of the best Hong Kong actors of his generation.

With nearly four decades of acting experience under his belt, you might have also seen him starring in Chungking Express (1995) and Infernal Affairs (2003).

Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan

Malaysian Chinese actor Michelle Yeoh will be playing the role of Jiang Nan, a guardian of a mythical city and a former mentor of Shang-Chi. The actor was born in Malaysia and won the Miss Malaysia pageant when she was 20 in 1983.

Afterwards, Yeoh began to appear in a series of Hong Kong action films such as Yes, Madam (1985) and Police Story 3: Supercop (1992) where she performed her own stunts. In more recent years, Yeoh has appeared in films such as Aung San Suu Kyi biopic The Lady, and Crazy Rich Asians where she played Eleanor, the overprotective mother of Henry Golding’s character Nick Young. 

Fala Chen as Jiang Li

Another familiar face to Hong Kong viewers, Chinese American actor Fala Chen will be playing the wife of Wenwu and the mother of Shang-Chi and Xialing in the movie. Born and raised in China until the age of 14, Chen emigrated to Atlanta with her parents and went on to pursue a business degree in college.

To earn money for her university tuition, Chen took part in pageant contests and won the first runner up in TVB’s Miss Chinese International Pageant 2005 where she represented New York, thus beginning her career in the entertainment industry. In 2005, the actor signed an eight-year contract with TVB and went on to star in numerous variety shows, series and movies. Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings will be Chen’s debut in the US film industry. 

Meng’er Zhang as Xialing

Film newbie, Meng’er Zhang will be playing the role of Xialing, Shang-Chi’s estranged sister. The Chinese actor attended Nanjing University of The Arts in China before moving to England to study at London East 15 Acting School. 

The actor previously dabbled in music, competing in a country-wide female-only singing talent show named Happy Girls in China. Zhang made it into the top 20, but decided to withdraw from the competition midway. 

Florian Munteanu as Razor First

Former heavyweight boxer Florian Munteanu is a German-Romanian actor and model known for his role as Viktor Frago in Creed II (2018). Munteanu will be playing the role of Razor First, a martial artist and soldier whose hands are replaced with steel blades who is hired to assassinate Shang-Chi. 

Born in Germany to Romanian parents, Munteanu grew up in Bogen, Germany and competed in boxing tournaments under the name “Big Nasty”. In 2016, the actor received his first film role in a German-Romanian film, Bogat. However, his breakthrough in acting came in 2018 in the sports drama Creed II when director Sylvester Stallone found Munteanu online through training videos and nominated him for the role. 

Ronny Chieng as Jon Jon

Known for his standup shows, Malaysian comedian and actor Ronny Chieng will play Jon Jon, Shang-Chi’s friend. Prior to entering the entertainment industry, Chieng lived between Singapore, Manchester, New Hampshire and Melbourne for school. 

In 2013, Chieng performed with Trevor Noah at a comedy festival in Melbourne, which led him to an audition for the correspondent role on Noah’s The Daily Show. In 2016, the actor co-wrote and starred in Ronny Chieng: International Student, a sitcom based on his own experience as a Malaysian student in Australia. Crazy Rich Asians fans may also recognise him as Eddie Cheng, Nick and Astrid’s cousin.  

See also: Tatler Exclusive: Comedian Ronny Chieng On Shang-Chi, Asian Representation And More

Jayden Tianyi Zhang as young Shang-Chi

Young Shang-Chi is played by 12-year-old Jayden Tianyi Zhang. While there's not much online about the child actor, his Instagram feed shows wholesome snippets of his life. From spending quality time with the family, playing the cello at The Orpheum in Vancouver, travelling to Australia and more. 

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