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Simu Liu Explains His Moon Knight Mandarin Criticism

Simu Liu expands on his critique of Moon Knight's Mandarin language passages, claiming that key decision-makers should have detected the mistake

While Moon Knight has been a standout among the MCU Disney+ programs, it hasn't been without its detractors. Liu came to Twitter after the second episode of Moon Knight, "Summon the Suit," to critique villain Arthur Harrow's (Ethan Hawke) effort to speak Mandarin. Despite the fact that Harrow claims to be fluent in Mandarin, Liu made it obvious that Hawke's Mandarin required improvement, noting, "Harrow has to dismiss his Mandarin instructor." Despite his criticism of the show's portrayal of Mandarin, Liu appears to be a fan of Moon Knight overall, eventually calling the anime "great."

Liu expanded on his critique of the Mandarin in Moon Knight in a new interview with GQ, attempting to explain how the misunderstanding arose. While Mandarin is a difficult language to master, Liu claims that the translator on the show "probably shouldn't have been a translator," and that other individuals involved in the decision-making process should have realized this. Liu's whole statement is below:

“I think there’s maybe a misconception that Marvel is this kind of monolithic, all-powerful single organism with infinite resources. I think that it’s easy to allocate the blame to Marvel as a whole. If you really break it down, there was a translator that probably shouldn’t have been a translator. There were probably a couple of people in the decision-making process that should have raised a flag that didn’t. I have full appreciation for the fact that Mandarin is not an easy language. I didn’t want to make it into a big political thing. I just wanted to make fun of it because the sound that came out of that man’s mouth did not resemble Mandarin in any way, shape or form.”

Although Liu is still critical of the Mandarin in Moon Knight, his opinion sheds some light on the Marvel filmmaking process and attempts to explain what went wrong. Blaming Marvel as a whole for the gaffe may not be the best strategy, according to Liu, because the poor Mandarin language use in Moon Knight is likely due to a small group of people without the necessary Mandarin language competence or motivation to intervene. Liu further emphasizes that his remark was not meant to start any type of political reckoning for Moon Knight or Marvel in general; rather, the actor just wanted to bring out what he saw to be bad Mandarin.

While it is unclear if Moon Knight will be renewed for a second season or not, the program's makers are now aware of Liu's criticism and will likely avoid any language gaffes if the show returns. Marvel is clearly a massive company with a lot of resources, but Liu's comments reveal that each production is independent to some extent, and mistakes can sneak through the cracks. If Moon Knight season 2 is confirmed, maybe the Mandarin language will be treated with more care.

Source: GQ

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