It’s only been a few months since Black Widow brought the Marvel Cinematic Universe back to the big screen but the next chapter is already here. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the 25th movie in the ever-expanding Marvel Multiverse, is a fun fantasy adventure movie that blends high fantasy and intense action.
Starring Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, a martial arts master running from his dark past, the action movie follows the title character on a journey of self-discovery that sees him forced to confront his father, the deadly warlord Wenwu (Tony Leung). Thankfully he’s not alone, he’s joined by his oldest and best friend Katy played by the always wonderful Awkafina, who helps keep Shang-Chi on the straight and narrow.
Earlier this week, using the magic of Zoom, we spoke to Awkafina about Katy, Shang-Chi, and the MCU. We dug into the movie’s themes of overcoming parental pressure, the evolving relationship between her character and Liu’s, and if she’ll be ready to assemble when the Avengers next come calling.
The Digital Fix: So often in The Marvel Cinematic Universe, we see the sidekick as comic relief. But there’s a little more to Katy than that. She really goes on a journey and becomes a hero in her own right through the film. Is that what attracted you to the role?
Akwafina: I think a lot attracted me to the role but sure that was a component of it. I think she’s really fun and I find a lot of similarities in her. I think we have the same sense of humour.
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I think that she’s a really loyal and interesting friend. So, yeah, I think yeah, there’s a lot. And she definitely has gone on her own journey, I think, along with Shang-Chi.
One of the things that I found most relatable things about the movie is what it says about parental pressure. At the start of the movie, we see Katy’s mum isn’t happy with her being a valet, even though she’s perfectly happy in her own life. Is that pressure something you’ve experienced?
Sure. I think that pressure is something a lot of people experience. You know, like what kind of the world wants of you, what your parents want of you.
And I think what you want for yourself, you know, and I think that’s the really cool thing about this movie. There’s a lot of these, kind of, very relatable aspects going on, you know, where we find ourselves on our journey, so to speak.
We’re not going to spoil it too much but during the movie we see Katy become a hero in her own right. We know that she might be going on more adventures could we see Katy the next time The Avengers assemble?
I have no idea, [laughs] but you know what, would that be cool? Sure, yeah. I’m just really excited to see where they go.
Early in the film, we see Katy’s grandma teasing Liu’s character about marrying Katy. Is there a romantic relationship here? At the very end of the film, I couldn’t help but think that maybe that relationship evolved slightly. Do you see them as just friends at the end or is this something else?
You know, it’s interesting, I think that they have a really strong friendship. I think that she is his chosen family. And I think that their relationship, it’s really built on this kind of unspoken understanding that definitely does get deeper towards the end of the movie.
But, you know, is it romantic? I don’t know. But I think if it ever were to go there, I think it would be first founded on that kind of closeness they already have.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theatres now.