Actor Simu Liu has said it is “an incredible honour” to front the first Asian-led superhero film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Liu, who plays the title character in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, said the movie is “a beautiful gift to give to an entire community”.
The 32-year-old spoke at a gala screening for the latest Marvel film in London.
When asked what the role meant to him, Liu told the PA news agency: “It feels like an incredible honour.
“When you have these giant blockbusters, it doesn’t just come with the movie, it’s the Halloween costumes, the action figures, there’s a whole moment that surrounds these films.
“It’s so rare that I feel like people that look like me are thrust into those positions and I think it’s tremendously empowering.
“I think about the kids who will experience what I sort of never did when I was a kid, you know, seeing myself reflected in that way.
“And I really do think that a superhero represents something very unique in that they represent hope, this kind of pure hope and infinite possibilities.
“And I think what a beautiful gift to give to an entire community.
“I hope it’s the first of many and I hope absolutely that I’m not the only one.”
His character is a master of Kung-Fu who is forced to confront his past when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organisation.
The Canadian actor previously played Jung Kim in the sitcom Kim’s Convenience and starred in the crime drama Blood And Water.
The film also features Crazy Rich Asians’ Awkwafina and Michelle Yeoh, and Benedict Wong returns for his fourth appearance in the MCU.
The film’s director, Destin Daniel Cretton, told PA on the red carpet: “I now have two sons, my second son was born two months into production, and to be able to create a superhero that they one day will be able to watch when they’re old enough and look up to is something that’s really special.
“I never had a superhero who I could identify with when I was a kid, and to be able to have an option for a new generation of kids who look like me or who has a similar background as me, that’s very special.”
Cretton also said he felt “very lucky” to be a part of a Hollywood franchise which has made diversity a key objective.
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings opens in cinemas on September 3.