Marvel is finally developing its 1st Asian superhero movie centred on Asian protagonist Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung Fu.
Chinese American, Dave Callahan, who has written the script for “Wonder Woman 1984”, will be in charge of the screenplay. The studio is also seeking an Asian American director to helm the movie.
According to Deadline, the studio is aiming to replicate the success of “Black Panther” with more culturally diverse characters and behind-the-scenes talent.
First introduced in 1973, Shang-Chi is a secret agent and a master of numerous unarmed and weaponry-based wushu styles, including the use of the gun, nunchaku, and Jian.
Though Shang-Chi’s age is unknown, he seems to be someone in his late 20s or early 30s. So here are our top 6 picks of Asian actors that could take on the role!
1. Steven Yeun
Korean-American actor Steven Yeun, 34, is best known for his role as Glenn Rhee on “The Walking Dead” over the course of 6 years and 7 seasons of the show. He has also starred in the award-winning films “Okja” and the Korean film “Burning”, both of which received critical acclaim. Shang-Chi is somewhat tainted by the Asian stereotypes of the time, so Yeun may be able to make the role more updated as how he did in many of his acting roles where it completely defies Asian stereotypes.
2. Ludi Lin
Ludi Lin, 34, is a Chinese-American actor best known for playing Zack, the Black Ranger in the 2017 “Power Rangers” reboot. The actor was also casted in “Aquaman” as Murk, the Captain of the Men-of-War, the frontline army of Atlantis. Lin seems to be a good fit for the role of Shang-Chi as he is quite proficient in the martial arts. He studied Muay Thai in Thailand after graduating from High School, as well as Jiu-Jitsu and Olympic style wrestling.
3. Harry Shum Jr.
Award-winning Chinese-American actor Harry Shum Jr, 36 is best known for his roles as Mike Chang on “Glee” and as Magnus Bane on “Shadowhunters”. He received 4 Screen Actors Guild Awards nods for his performance on “Glee”, winning once; and he won the award for The Male TV Star of 2018 in the E! Peoples Choice Awards for “Shadowhunters”. Also, Shum has experience in martial arts movie, having previously acted in the sequel of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.
4. Ross Butler
Ross Butler, 28, is an American actor of Malaysian-Chinese and English-Dutch descent. He is known for his Disney Channel series and films, but recently, he garnered more fans for his role in the Netflix drama series “13 Reasons Why“ as Zach Dempsey. Butler is familiar with martial arts as he learned capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics, and music), but he is not a huge fan of Asian stereotype. Maybe starring in a huge Marvel production film may change his mind.
5. Alex Mallari Jr
Phillipine-born Canadian actor Alex Mallari Jr, 30 is best known for his portrayal of Four/Ryo Tetsuda/Ryo Ishida in the 2015 series “Dark Matter“. Mallari would also be a great fit for Shang-Chi as he is a true martial artist. He had national success in Taekwondo, for which he has a 3rd degree black belt. If that’s not impressive enough, he was twice a Junior Canadian National Taekwondo champion.
6. Henry Golding
English-Malaysian actor Henry Golding, 31, has now become Hollywood’s highly sought-after leading man after his successful performance in “Crazy Rich Asians” as Nick Young. He also starred as Sean Townsend in “A Simple Favor” by Paul Feig. Though the actor doesn’t seem to fit the typical Asian roles due to his suave image, Golding has previously confessed that he is opened to try on various other roles, so who knows? He might do great as Shang-Chi.
What do you think of our list? Is there anyone else who is a better fit for the role?