By Lee Parham

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Simu Liu is ready to break out as Marvel’s next leading man, but the actor took an unconventional path to landing the superhero role.

Simu Liu 劉思慕 was born in Harbin, China. His family immigrated to Ontario, Canada at the age of five.

Liu did not initially plan on becoming an actor. He graduated from Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario with an HBA degree as he initially began work as an accountant.

Liu’s accounting career was short-lived when he was abruptly laid off. Simu decided to drastically change career paths and pursue work as an actor and stuntman.

Doing stunts came naturally to Liu due to training in martial arts such as Taekwondo and Wing Chu along with working in gymnastics.

Simu Liu first got work on the The CW series Nikita appearing as a costabile in one episode. His film debut came as an extra in the science fiction action film Pacific Rim.


The next few years Liu worked as an actor for hire bouncing around a number of TV shows in small guest appearances. Highlights include Warehouse 13, Mayday, Beauty and the Beast, and Make it Pop!.


Simu landed his first recurring role in the Chinese and Canadian crime drama Blood and Water in 2015. The series lasted 2 seasons with a third having been renewed.

2016 proved to be a tremendous success for Liu as gained his first major roles. Firstly he starred in the NBC drama Taken, an adaptation of the Liam Neeson film of the same name.

Second, Simu was cast in the Canadian sitcom Kim’s Convenience as Jung Kim, the son of a convenience store owner in Toronto, Canada.

Kim’s Convenience ended up being a major breakthrough in Liu’s career. The show went on to become a massive hit in Canada as well as gaining more international success on Netflix.

Kim’s Convenience lasted for 5 seasons on CBC and Liu had more guest appearances on high profile shows, such as Orphan Black, The Expanse, Dark Matter, and Fresh off the Boat.


In 2018 Simu Liu began campaigning for a much bigger role by tweeting at Marvel Studios to make him a superhero. A year later he was announced as Marvel’s Shang-Chi at Comic Con in 2019.

Shang-Chi is the first Asian-lead in the MCU and features a cast made up of prominent Asian actors, such as Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, and Chinese superstar Tony Leung as iconic villain The Mandarin.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will not only expand the MCU but prove to be a major step for Asian representation in Hollywood.

With a solid career in television and now the star of the latest Marvel film, Simu Liu’s start to his career has set him up for success for years to come.