Marvel star Simu Liu has shared an emotional statement to celebrate the release of the first superhero film with an Asian lead.
The former accountant stars as the titular Shang-Chi in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings, which follows a skilled martial artist who has been trained as an assassin and is forced to confront his childhood after leaving his family behind years prior.
"The sun rose today to a world where Asian superheroes exist as the leads of their story; that is the gift that [director Destin Daniel Cretton] and @marvelstudios has bestowed upon all of us, across all communities, everywhere. A celebration and a sharing of culture, of language, of laughter, of excitement, of sorrow and of heartbreak," he wrote.
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WATCH: Shang Chi and the legend of the 10 Rings trailer
"I need to say a few words about our director, who has put more work into this thing than you could possibly imagine. Thank you for making this all happen, Destin.
"For your thoughtfulness, for the dedication and commitment you showed each and every day, for the personal sacrifices you made, and for giving me the opportunity to be a vessel for your story. I will never be able to repay what I have learned from my time with you."
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The post was shared alongside an illustration of two young Asian children looking at a scene from the film that sees Simu's character in a fight on a subway car.
Simu's post was praised by fans
Simu went on to thank his co-stars, including Awkwafina, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh and Tony Leung, for "allowing a complete newbie to occupy space in your world".
"I felt like I was among legends each and every day. Thank you for your patience and generosity. You are all magnificent in this movie," he shared.
Simu also spoke of how he hopes the film will change the world; it has been released at a time of rising hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States.
Simu plays the first Asian lead in a superhero film
"I've said before that this film will change the world. A smile where there wasn't one before. Pride where there was shame. Compassion where there was ignorance. If we reach out and touch even one person, then aren't all of our lives better for it?" he concluded.
"And you killed it!" shared one fan as another added: "The superheroes we’ve been waiting for!"
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in cinemas now
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