On July 21, Marvel announced the cast for their upcoming superhero movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The movie is billed as Marvel’s first superhero moving featuring a Chinese cast. Canadian-Chinese actor Simu Liu will play the titular character, with Hong Kong actor Tony Leung Chiu-wai playing the antagonist, The Mandarin.
The announcement set fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe buzzing worldwide, however, fans in China were less than enthused.
Chinese netizens believe that The Mandarin was inspired by the character Dr Fu Manchu, created in 1912. Dr Fu Manchu is widely seen as a racist take on the Chinese by Westerners.
The Mandarin was originally the archenemy of Iron Man, and has appeared in previous Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
Tony was widely criticised on Weibo after the casting was announced, with netizens expressing their disappointment in Tony for his “money-minded ways”.
In related news, July 21 was also Tony’s 11th wedding anniversary with Hong Kong actress Carina Lau. Showing her support for her husband’s new role, Carina posted a picture of the movie’s poster, with a simple caption. “Anticipating (the release)!”