By this point, longtime Marvel fans know to stick around for the entire run of the credits after a new movie — a practice that will reward you with an extra scene or two expanding on the hero or connecting them to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings didn’t just deliver two iconic scenes but also paid tribute to an integral part of the film’s signature style and stunt choreography: the late Brad Allan, to whom the film is dedicated “in loving memory.”
As Deadline reported, Allan died on Aug. 7, less than a month before Shang-Chi debuted in theaters. His friend and longtime colleague Jackie Chan announced the news on his website, writing that Allan — who he described as a “brother” — died due to illness, remembering him as an “excellent role model to many action stars.” Among the Australian stunt pro’s lengthy resume are films such as Wonder Woman, the Kingsman series (including its upcoming prequel), and Shanghai Noon.
Allan was a part of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team and collaborated with the renowned actor on many projects since first visiting the set of Mr. Nice Guy as a fan, Chan recalled. “At that time, he was crazy about Chinese Kung Fu and had practiced it for many years. It was because of his amazing skills and talent, he transformed from being a fan to a stuntman.”
It’s hard to overstate just how pivotal Allan was to Shang-Chi and its stunning display of martial arts, from the graceful beauty of Wenwu and Ying Li to the action and humor in that unforgettable bus scene, which, according to writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton, almost didn’t happen without Allan’s input.
“That initial idea I never thought would ever actually make it into the movie, but we took that idea and handed it over to Brad Allan and his incredible team,” Cretton revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. “That fight in itself was perfect for them because they were trained on Jackie Chan’s Stunt Team. That style of Buster Keaton-like physical comedy, mixed with setups and payoffs, and stakes rising and rising to almost ridiculous levels, was something that was perfect for them.”
Shang-Chi star Simu Liu himself also remembered Allan fondly in an interview with Empire, saying the seasoned pro “put every bit of himself into this movie and into the action sequences.” Liu detailed a sweet encounter with Allan on one of the first days of training for the film, where the stunt coordinator playfully challenged Liu to a series of handstands — and the newest Marvel star couldn’t quite keep up just yet.
“His feet literally just lifted as if they were being picked up, his body just effortlessly inverts into this handstand,” Liu recounted. “And I was like, ‘No, Brad, I can't do that.’ And he gives me this ‘Tsk tsk,’ shakes his head, and says, ‘So many muscles, and you can't even control your body.’ And he just walks away with a little smirk on his face ... I loved it, and I loved every minute of working with him. I miss him so much. I really do.”
Even in an MCU so filled to the brim with fights — super-soldier fights, ant-sized fights, waterfall fights — Allan’s work on Shang-Chi made its artful duels feel totally new. (And yes, if you’re wondering, that’s more than enough reason to rewatch.)