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Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

First 'Shang-Chi' trailer packs a serious punch as Simu Liu enters a world of deadly assassins

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Apr 19, 2021, 9:41 AM EDT

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel's first Asian-led superhero flick, now has a first trailer — and your rear end may never be the same because this footage kicks some serious butt, people. Helmed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12), the history-making movie stars Simu Liu (Kim's Convenience) as the titular character, a deadly master of martial arts.

Liu, who shared a teaser for the film this morning — along with a promise that the first trailer was set to drop within the coming weeks — was just as shocked us as the rest of us when the initial bout of footage debuted online. "WAIT WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!" he wrote in response to Marvel Studios' Monday surprise. "THIS IS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!" he said in a follow-up tweet (the actor turns 31 today).

Shang-Chi will also introduce the real Mandarin (Tony Leung), a classic Marvel baddie who was part of Iron Man 3, but just turned out to be a slavish actor named Trevor (Ben Kingsley). In the MCU short "All Hail the King," we learn that the Mandarin — and his global terrorist organization, the Ten Rings — wasn't too happy with Trevor impersonating him. In this iteration, the Mandarin, who just so happens to be Shang-Chi's estranged father, is a man named Wenwu (a wholly original character created for the movie).

Watch the stylish teaser now:

As the trailer makes clear, the eponymous butt-kicker has kicked nary a butt in the last decade. Instead, he's spent the last 10 years as an unassuming valet in San Francisco (the domain of Scott Lang's Ant-Man) — far away from the reach of his father, who raised him to be a deadly killing machine.

Now, after all these years, Wenwu wants his son to realize his destiny and take a place at the head of the Ten Rings. But Shang-Chi is pure of heart, which means he's not interested in taking over the family business. His refusal also means he needs to take on an army of assassins to defeat his dad, shattering his quiet existence and drawing his friends — like Awkwafina's Katy — into a dark underworld of high-stakes hand-to-hand combat.

"She doesn't do a lot of the heavy lifting," Awkwafina told Entertainment Weekly. "But at the end of the day, she has a real heart, and she has a loyalty and dedication to her friendship with Shang-Chi. She's super brave."

She's selling herself a little short there because the trailer clearly shows us a Speed-like action set piece in which Katy is forced to drive an out-of-control bus while Shang-Chi dispatches some ill-intentioned foot soldiers. Funnily enough, it looks to be the second MCU fight sequence set on public transport after Carol Danvers punched a sweet old lady Skrull on the train in Captain Marvel.

Liu is ready for action (note the curled fists, glowing tunic, and intense gaze) with the teaser poster below:

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Credit: Marvel Studios/Disney

Liu, Leung, and Awkwafina headline the project's ensemble cast of Michelle Yeoh (Jiang Nan), Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Ronny Chieng. 

Originally set to open in February of this year, Shang-Chi was one of many blockbusters to fall victim to the COVID-19 health crisis. Production kicked off in Australia last year, but ground to a halt when Cretton — being extra cautious for the sake of his newborn child — went into a self-imposed quarantine in March. Filming, which didn't pick up until five months later, wrapped last November.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will literally have everyone kung fu fighting when it hits theaters Friday, Sep. 3. David Callaham & Destin Daniel Cretton & Andrew Lanham wrote the screenplay.