Fans want backstory on MCU’s Klev, witty bystander in ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘Shang-Chi’
It’s the smaller touches in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that bring the world to life, including a hilarious bystander who has appeared in both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Now, fans online are speculating about the backstory of Klev, the man who famously told Tom Holland’s Spider-Man to “do a flip!” in Homecoming, which takes place in Queens, New York. Curiously, Klev also streamed from his phone the martial arts battle on a San Francisco Bus in Shang-Chi, bragging to his viewers, “I actually did take a little bit of martial arts as a youth, so I’mma try and grade this fight as we’re going.”
Below are screenshots of the character, portrayed by actor Zach Cherry, in both Homecoming and Shang-Chi.
While the character may seem somewhat inconsequential in the grander scheme of things, Klev became a point of fascination on the internet Thursday when the Reddit user u/NomenNescio13 posted on the r/MarvelStudios subreddit wondering just what the character’s journey has been throughout the epic ups and downs of the MCU. For instance, how is it that he found himself in Queens before the infamous “snap” of Josh Brolin’s Thanos that wiped out half of life in the universe in Avengers: Infinity War? And just what series of events in his life brought him to San Francisco after the “blip” when the Avengers corrected Thanos’ evildoing and brought everyone back in Avengers: Endgame? Undoubtedly, an epic journey must’ve taken place that the Reddit user theorized might include family tragedy, chasing dreams, healing a broken heart, or perhaps simply a job opportunity.
“He’s just a tiny bit of comic relief, but I’m so intrigued,” the Reddit user wrote. The post, which you can check out below, garnered considerable attention on the subreddit.
“The way that we shot him was really, just letting him improvise, like a ton,” Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton said of Klev’s side-splitting moments in the spotlight as a bystander filming an epic fight from his phone and broadcasting to his followers in the bus scene, according to a Vanity Fair breakdown of the scene.
Some of his improvised moments are a much needed break of humor in the tense scene, in which Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi faces off against six assassins sent by the hero’s father.
At one point, Klev shouts to Shang-Chi, “you got this bro,” only to later redact that encouragement upon seeing Florian Munteanu’s Razor Fist unveil his machete arm, saying, “My bad.”
When the bus driver gets knocked out in the scene, Klev declares he can’t go behind the wheel himself, saying, “Everytime I’ve tried to drive a bus, I get yelled at.”
Interestingly, Cretton went on to explain that Klev’s filming of the fight “turns out to be a very important story element because what he is recording on his cell phone is a set up to people knowing who Shang-Chi is.”
It’s fascinating to hear such a minor character could hold such importance in the MCU and further stokes our desire to see Klev in his own, stand-alone adventure one day, or at least get a recurring cameo appearances in future MCU films.
Klev’s presence has not been forgotten since Shang-Chi, either, as one of the character’s famous lines made a subtle appearance in blockbuster mega-hit Spider-Man: No Way Home, as well. The scene in question sees Peter Parker surrounded by a crowd while entering Midtown School of Science and Technology, after he is outed as being Spider-Man and surrounded by paparazzi. One of the clamoring voices in the background of that scene is Klev’s “Do a flip!” line mixed in with other chatter, apparently archival audio footage from Homecoming the filmmakers inserted into the scene, according to Klev’s MCU Fandom Wiki page.