Simu Liu, a Canadian actor who is set to become the first Asian star of a Marvel Studios superhero film, had some parting words for the producers of “Kim’s Convenience,” on which he was a cast member during the series’ five-season run.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Liu said he was feeling a “host of emotions” with the series’ final season debuting on Netflix Wednesday. The show officially shut down in March after the departure of co-creators and showrunners Ins Choi and Kevin White.
“The show can’t be ‘saved,’” Liu wrote. “It was not ‘cancelled’ in a traditional manner, i.e. by a network after poor ratings. Our producers (who also own the Kim’s Convenience IP) are the ones who chose not to continue.”
Liu also noted that a series called “Strays” was spun off, featuring the only non-Asian “Kim’s Convenience” character, Shannon, played by Nicole Power. That series, which debuts Sept. 14 on CBC, the same network that aired “Kim’s,” is written and executive-produced by White.
“I love and am proud of Nicole and I want the show to succeed for her … but I remain resentful of all the circumstances that led to the one non-Asian character getting her own show,” wrote Liu, who played Jung Kim in the series.
Liu wrote that he also felt the producers failed to consult with and utilize the experience of the cast in scripts and storylines.
“Our producers were overwhelmingly white and we were a cast of Asian Canadians who had a plethora of lived experiences to draw from and offer to writers,” Lui said. “I remain fixated on the missed opportunities to show Asian characters with real depth and the ability to grow and evolve.”
Neither Liu or Thunderbird Entertainment, the production company behind the series, were available for comment.
The actor also said that the writing team lacked both Asian and female representation, adding that when co-creator Choi departed from the series “without so much as a goodbye note to the cast,” there were no other Korean voices on the team, despite the fact the series centred on a Korean family running a convenience store in downtown Toronto.
Liu said cast members were paid what he described as a “horsepoop rate.”
“In the beginning, we were no-name actors who had ZERO leverage. So of course we were going to take anything we could. After one season, after the show debuted to sky-high ratings, we received a little bump-up that also extended the duration of our contracts by two years. Compared to shows like Schitt’s Creek, who had ‘brand-name talent’ with American agents, but whose ratings were not as high as ours, we were making NOTHING,” he wrote.
“But we also never banded together and demanded more — probably because we were told to be grateful to even be there, and because we were so scared to rock the boat.”
Liu thanked the production crew and the show’s loyal fan base.
“I am still touched by the volume and the voracity of our fans (Kimbits…still hands-down the best fandom name EVER), and I still believe in what the show once stood for; a shining example of what can happen when the gates come down and minorities are given a chance to shine,” he concluded the post.
Liu is starring as title character in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” set to be released on Sept. 3.
In April, “Kim’s” actors Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Andrew Phung talked to The Canadian Press about the demise of the show, which Lee said felt like “grieving a death.”
Although less pointed in their comments than Liu, Phung called the cancellation “a disappointing end” and Lee said he felt “robbed, because we never got a chance to say goodbye.”