- Instagram/Eddie Peng, Weibo
Chinese Marvel fans are letting their imaginations run free, after reports that the superhero film giant was on the lookout for actors of Chinese ancestry to play the role of Shang-Chi in a movie dedicated to the character.
Over the weekend, Variety reporter Justin Kroll inadvertently sparked a mini social media frenzy on Chinese site Weibo when he tweeted: “Marvel is putting out test offers for a group of men in their 20s for its Shang-Chi movie.”
“Marvel have also been adamant to reps offering up their clients for the role that they have to be of Chinese ancestry no other Asian ancestry excepted,” Kroll said.
With comic-con closing in, hearing Marvel is putting out test offers for a group of men in their 20s for its SHANG-CHI movie. Marvel have also been adamant to reps offering up their clients for the role that they have to be of Chinese ancestry no other Asian ancestry excepted.
— Justin Kroll (@krolljvar) July 13, 2019
On Monday (July 15), Variety followed up with an article stating that a screengrab of Kroll’s tweet had gone viral on the Chinese social networking site.
Despite Twitter being blocked in China, word of casting being limited to Chinese actors lit up Weibo’s trending page, with 340 million hits by Monday, South China Morning Post reported.
According to Variety, some of the most suggested names so far include Canadian-Taiwanese Eddie Peng, Chinese wushu athlete-turned-actor Zhang Jin, Chinese martial artist Ashton Chen Xiaolong, and Got7’s Hong Kong-born rapper Jackson Wang.
So far though, Peng – who has over 31 million followers on Weibo and 4.4 million followers on Instagram – has been a clear favourite among fans, Variety added.
Peng was also the favourite answer when entertainment news account HeyWarWars asked its over 3 million Weibo followers to comment on who they would like to see cast as the Chinese superhero. As of Tuesday, a comment with his name had received 131,000 “likes”.
However, fans may find their hopes dashed as netizens were quick to point out that Peng was way past the age limit reportedly set by Marvel.
If Kroll’s tweet is accurate, then the actor cast for Shang-Chi needs to be in his twenties. Peng turned 37 in March.
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Still, many asked for the company to disregard the age limit and consider Peng.
One Weibo user, Chloeklyi, pointed out that Peng “looks to be only in his twenties”. Another user said: “It’ll be fine even if he acts as an 18-year-old.”
Just last month, The Hashtag Show reported that Power Rangers’ Ludi Lin and Singapore-born Ross Butler are names being considered for the role.
Marvel has so far not commented on the casting of Shang-Chi, and Chinese fans are no doubt waiting to see if it will make a wise choice.
According to Variety, Marvel Cinematic Universe has an enormous fan base in China, the world’s second-largest film market. In April, “Avengers: Endgame” became China’s third-highest grossing film of all time with US$614 million, the website reported.
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