Get To Know The Asian Stars Who Just Got Cast in Marvel's Phase 4

Keep a look out for these Asian celebrities on your big screens
By Pakkee Tan 22 Jul, 2019 10:16 AMTags
Simu Liu, 'The Lion King' Canadian PremiereGeorge Pimentel/Getty Images for Disney Studios

Exciting things are in store for Marvel in the next two years, but what's really got our attention is the inclusion of Asian celebrities in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Last December, Marvel unveiled the plans for their first superhero movie with an Asian lead, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, and the casting for the movie ignited a buzz within the film industry — mainly who would Marvel get to play its main lead character?

The answer was revealed at the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, where Canadian-Chinese actor Simu Liu was announced as the main lead. Liu is best known for his role as Jung in Canadian comedy series Kim's Convenience

Speaking at a panel at the event, Liu revealed that he was cast in the role barely a week before the announcement was made."This is the craziest, craziest dream," said Liu, according to AP.

This movie marks a major turn for the powerhouse film production company, which has been criticised for its lack of diversity in the past — something Liu pointed out himself in a tweet back in 2014.

"Hey @Marvel, great job with Cpt America and Thor. Now how about an Asian American hero?" the actor tweeted.

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings will tell the story of the titular character — Shang-Chi — and his origins. It is set for release in February 2021.

In addition to Liu, several prominent Asian names in the industry will also feature in Marvel's Phase 4 plans. For one, Chinese director Chloe Zhao, will be helming the production of The Eternals, which boasts a cast that includes Angelina JolieRichard Madden, and Salma Hayek among others. Zhao is the first Asian woman to direct a Marvel movie, reports The Verge.

From Asian-American actor Awkwafina to Hong Kong's Tony Leung Chiu Wai, find out the Asian stars that have a place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

Simu Liu

Canadian-Chinese actor Simu Liu nabbed the coveted main lead of the upcoming superhero movie, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings"I was cast on Tuesday. I screen-tested on Sunday in New York," he told the audience at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. "This is the the craziest, craziest dream." Liu previously starred in Canadian comedy show, Kim's Convenience, and joined the cast of Fresh Off The Boat earlier this year. This is his first major movie role.

 

Tony Leung Chiu-wai

Tony Leung Chiu-wai is arguably one of Asia's most recognisable — and most decorated — actors. He will star opposite Liu in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings as The Mandarin. His impressive film portfolio includes Chungking Express (1994), In The Mood for Love (2000), Lust, Caution (2007), and many more. After hearing news of the casting, Leung's wife and manager, actress Carina Lau, took to Instagram to congratulate him, "Looking forward! Can't wait!"

Awkwafina

The Asian-American star will star in an undisclosed role in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings. She previously starred in hit films Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean's 8 and will play the role of Scuttle in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Ma Dong-seok (aka Don Lee)

Korean actor Ma Dong-seok has been confirmed for a role in Marvel's The Eternals, where he will star alongside Hollywood's finest, including Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden and more. Ma will reportedly play the role of Gilgamesh, a hero with super strength that competes with the likes of Thor and Hercules, according to Korean news site soompi.

Kumail Nanjiani

The Pakistani-American actor will also star in The Eternals — he is a main cast member of television drama Silicon Valley, and is a comedian, actor and writer. He is best known for his book and film The Big Sick, which he wrote with his wife his wife Emily V. Gordon, and earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2017.

Chloe Zhao

A special mention goes to Chinese director Chloe Zhao, who will be the first Asian woman to direct a Marvel movie! The award-winning director will lead the filming of The Eternals, despite having only two films to her name to date. She is best known for her first feature film Songs My Brother Taught Me in 2015, which was shot on location at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The film subsequently went on to screen at the Sundance Film Festival, the Cannes Film Festival and earned a nomination for Best First Feature at the 31st Independent Spirit Awards.