Simu Liu wondered if his MCU character Shang-Chi would wear Air Jordans, but eventually realized that wearing them made the hero identifiable.
Still aware of his status as the first Asian-American actor to headline a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings Star Simu Liu balked at one aspect of the main character’s costume design – his sneakers.
Liu said in an interview with Reverse, “I remember watching the first comedic performances of him and thinking to myself, ‘Well, that’s offensive. “I wrote it right away.” The movie offered Shang-Chi modern clothes and shoes, but Liu was not completely satisfied with the type of shoes. “I struggled with that initially. I remember trying on the costume and thinking, ‘Is he the first superhero to wear running shoes? … He should be wearing combat boots or something. “I didn’t see him as they saw him.”
In the movie, Shang-Chi sports black Air Jordan Access high top sneakers with red trims and a white sole, shoes that are neither rare nor high-end. Ultimately, Liu liked this aspect. “At the start of production, I was like, ‘Oh, this is really great.’ This makes it accessible, “he said.
Not all heroes wear combat boots – Quicksilver had Adidas sneakers in Avengers: Age of Ultron – but Shang-Chi from the original Kung Fu Master the comic was almost always barefoot. Her usual outfit was red karate gi with a blue belt and gold piping on the tunic and the cuffs of the sleeves and pants, topped with a red headband and silver suspenders. Over time, his look has evolved to make him strongly resemble action star Bruce Lee, frequently including shirtless. Subsequent interpretations of Shang-Chi had him adopt red jumpsuits or black leather jackets and sport a huge dragon tattoo; his current look in the comics wears him in a red tunic with gold dragon scale armor and green pants.
MCU concept designer Andy Park said, “There was no mandate to keep the Bruce Lee thing,” as he worked on dozens of designs for the film version of Shang-Chi. “I made explorations that didn’t even think of comics, but of ancient Chinese culture with very westernized, very urban looks.” Park said he incorporated sneakers into the mix to reflect Shang-Chi’s development as a man with roots in ancient Chinese lore who was careful to blend in after moving to the West, though. that he didn’t stipulate that the shoes had to be Jordans.
Liu said, “I think the most revolutionary thing we did with our film was to represent a human being, an Asian American, who was in three dimensions.”
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently airing on Disney +.
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