Who Is The Death Dealer In Shang-Chi? Explaining The Man In The Mask

The day has finally arrived — "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" is now in theaters! But before you run to your closest screening, you might want to brush up on all your comic book lore. This solo film launches a brand new hero in the MCU; Simu Liu's Shang-Chi, a young assassin-turned-valet struggling through an identity crisis. In both the film and the comics, Shang-Chi is a really awesome master of Kung-Fu, capable of taking down the deadliest villains. So naturally, some of those villains happen to make an appearance in this movie.

Among them is the mysterious Masked Man, with one of the coolest costumes. A henchman for Shang-Chi's father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), the Death Dealer is otherwise a pretty big mystery. So here's a quick guide to his role in the comics, and how that may play into "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

What Is The Death Dealer's Origin Story?

The Death Dealer first appeared in "Master of Kung-Fu" #115. Then named Li Ching-Lin, he was a double-crossing MI6 agent secretly working for Shang-Chi's father. He was known for his extremely brutal methods and when his treachery was discovered, he was considered so dangerous that the martial arts master himself, Shang-Chi, was hired to eliminate him. Lin ended up fleeing the fight and returning to his master, who named him the "Death Dealer" and gave him his iconic mask and costume. Newly anointed, he made several attempts to kill Shang-Chi but was once again outmatched and forced to flee.

Over the years, the Death Dealer became one of Shang-Chi's greatest enemies. Their encounters often ended with the hero overpowering him and forcing his escape. Eventually, one of their battles ends in his death, and Shang-Chi escapes, victorious. Any comic fan knows that Marvel deaths have a tendency to not stick, but Lin never reappeared after dying a fiery death by brazier. Though he had a mysterious backstory and an arc full of twists, his villainy against Shang-Chi was short-lived. This makes his appearance in the film especially interesting. Might the Death Dealer have a bigger role this time around?

Who Plays The Death Dealer In The MCU?

Leading up to the release of "Shang Chi," the identity behind the Death Dealer mask was kept a mystery. All the while, the trailers showed off the character's eye-catching design and intense martial arts skills, which definitely added to the intrigue. But after months of speculation, social media came to the rescue — the actor was revealed last month, via Instagram. The man behind the mask is none other than Martial Club's Andy Le.

A martial arts viral sensation, Le and his fellow Martial Club brothers upload incredible martial arts videos. In addition to his role, Le also doubled as a stunt performer in the film, (a perfect fit, given he already had the skills for the job). He even spent the early days of preparation training Shang-Chi star Simu Liu for his own fight scenes. This turned out to be a pretty full-circle gig, given his character's role in the film...

What To Expect From The Death Dealer In Shang-Chi

The official trailer provided our first glimpse at Wenwu's finely dressed henchman. We see him facing off against a teenage Shang-Chi before flashing forward, where he fights a grown-up version of our hero. Just as Le helped train Liu, the Death Dealer clearly had a role in Shang-Chi's training. The big difference is that the cast members really seem to love one another, but Shang-Chi's relationship with the Death Dealer is full of tension. The training he endured in his childhood is an especially big sore spot for the lead character ... literally.

Shang-Chi holds a grudge against his father for many reasons; his supervillain antics are a significant part of the rift between them, but he also seems pretty miffed about the painful training he endured as a kid. It's safe to assume that some of his anger will be directed at the Death Dealer, who not only serves in his father's organization but helped train him. From the looks of the trailer, the Death Dealer is one of many sent to retrieve Wenwu's wayward son. His reappearance in the hero's life is definitely bad news for him, but exciting for the audience — the resulting action sequences look badass, and the film has already received plenty of praise for the amazing martial arts action. Between the promise of epic action and the extra layer of emotion, we can expect some intense scenes between these two characters.

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" is currently playing in theaters.