Monday was actor Simu Liu’s birthday. While he took to social media to reveal the first official poster for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and promised a trailer “in the coming weeks”, Marvel seemingly decided to give him and the rest of the world a gift by dropping the trailer simultaneously.

The surprises didn’t stop there though. EW also revealed some exclusive stills, alongside an interview with the film’s director and stars. You can check them out in the gallery below!

The first photo finally offers up a sneak peek at Shang-Chi’s costume. While leaked action figure photos previously gave us a general idea of how it would look, it’s cool to finally be able to analyze the details up close.

The second photo shows us Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi, Awkwafina’s Katie, and Meng’er Zhang’s Xialing in an undisclosed location, possibly being shown something. Awkwafina looks to be a huge part of this film, and this photo also kind of confirms that because it seems as if she’s going to be accompanying Shang-Chi on his journey. Zhang’s Xialing was previously revealed to be Shang-Chi’s sister. While the photo implies that she’s leading Shang-Chi somewhere, it’s not entirely clear what side she’ll be on: his or their father’s, The Mandarin.

That leads us to the third photo, which gives us a good look at Tony Leung’s Wenwu. Wenwu is not only Shang-Chi’s father, but he’s The (MCU’s first real) Mandarin. While he looks pretty normal in the photo, his transformation is hinted at in the trailer, which you can check out in its entirety below.

In EW’s exclusive the interview with director Destin Daniel Cretton, he says, ‘You know, I was never interested in doing one of these.” Looking at his filmography – Short Term 12, The Glass Castle, Just Mercy – you’d think so too. But Cretton says it was the idea of having a superhero film with an Asian lead, and having a cast that was also predominantly Asian, that really intrigued him. Thinking back to how much superheroes like Spider-Man influenced him as a child, he hoped to do something similar for this next generation by introducing this relatively unfamiliar character and his story.

That’s what drew the film’s star Simu Liu to the film too. He tells EW

“The most exciting thing about stepping into this character was that his backstory has never been told before…We know so many different versions of Batman’s origin story, how his parents were murdered when he was very young. We know Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, and he loses his uncle. Shang-Chi’s story is very much unknown to most of the world.”

Interestingly enough, Marvel’s been trying to make a Shang-Chi film for years, even before Tim Burton’s Batman or Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Back in the 1980s, Stan Lee apparently championed a film featuring the character. Actor Brandon Lee was even courted for the role. There were also plans for the character to be introduced during the small superhero craze in the early 2000s prior to the inception of Feige’s Marvel Studios. Thankfully all of those projects fell through because now it appears that the character is finally getting the treatment he deserves by the voices most qualified to bring him to life.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters September 3, 2021.

Source: EW

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