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Why Wendy Richards From The Darkness Looks So Familiar

With all our collective extra time this year, a lot of people have taken to Netflix to explore the darker, more horrific side of their streaming collection. One film, the 2016 horror movie The Darkness, seems to have attracted some attention lately. And why not? There's plenty of spooky scares to love: demons, menacing fingerprints, jars full of vomit just like grandma used to make... truly, The Darkness has got it all!

And there are plenty of faces to recognize among the Taylors, the family who is beset upon by evil forces. There's son Mikey (David Mazouz, who you probably know as young Bruce Wayne on Gotham). There's wife Bronny Taylor (Radha Mitchell, who horror fans will recognize from Silent Hill, The Crazies, and the recently released Dreamkatcher). And there's husband Peter Taylor, who you'll recognize because... well, because he's star of Tremors (and about a billion other things), Kevin Bacon.

One other blink-and-you'll-miss-it face you might recognize is the Taylors' family friend, Wendy Richards (Ming-Na Wen). If you're wondering why Wen's face (and voice) seem so familiar, it's because she's probably in a lot of the things you love.

Ming-Na Wen has spent seven seasons in the Marvel Universe

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. obviously looms very large in the Marvel mythos. It kicked off the live-action branch of Marvel Studios' TV operation in 2013, and gave us a deeper insight into just how ingrained Hydra was in the world of S.H.I.E.L.D. Plus, S.H.I.E.L.D. is the seed that grew Marvel's brand from network TV to Netflix, and now to Disney+. Without S.H.I.E.L.D., there's no Agent Carter, no Daredevil, and maybe none of the battery of forthcoming titles like The Falcon and Winter Soldier or WandaVision either.

Ming-Na Wen has appeared on all seven seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as Agent Melinda May. She's been Agent Phil Coulson's (Clark Gregg) right hand, she's dated secret (even from her) Hydra agents, she's died, she's come back from the dead, and she's been an atypical mother figure for the entire team since day one. In short, if you're even a passing Marvel fan, this is probably the first thing your mind flashes back to when you see Wen's face.

Ming-Na Wen played a deadly Tatooine assassin

Of course, the Marvel Universe isn't the only place you've seen Ming-Na Wen's face recently — she's also turned up in a galaxy far, far away. The show that arguably kicked off Disney+ and made it a must-have service is Jon Favreau's Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. The sci-fi western-themed story, centered on a bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal), has already taken our titular Mandalorian on many adventures, one of which involves a familiar assassin.

In The Mandalorian's fifth episode, "Chapter 5: The Gunsligner," Mando joins up with aspiring bounty hunter Toro Calican (Jake Cannavale) to hunt down elite mercenary Fennec Shand (Wen). Shand has a history of killing ruthlessly for crime syndicates, but finds herself on the wrong side of a bounty after her sometimes-bosses, the Hutts, are removed from power by the New Republic.

Calican and the Mandalorian eventually ensnare Shand after a speeder chase across the deserts of Tatooine, but Calican ultimately murders Shand after she makes a counter offer to help him take in the bounty on Mando instead.

Is she dead? We don't actually know for sure. At the end of "The Gunslinger," we see a mysterious figure stand over Shand's body, suggesting there's still more to her story. And considering Wen's popularity and her excellent performance as Fennec Shand, it seems unlikely that we've seen the last of her. We may find out as soon as this October, when The Mandalorian's second season is expected to land on Disney+.

Ming-Na Wen's career kicked off with a little lightning

One of Ming-Na Wen's earliest roles that made people take notice of her came in the form of the so-bad-it's-good classic, 1994's live-action adaptation of the Street Fighter video game series. The story of the oh so all-American Guile (Jean-Claude Van Damme) taking on the villainous M. Bison (Raul Julia) is the kind of schlock that merits rewatch after rewatch, but the character that might stand out the most is beloved street fighter Chun-Li (Wen). Wen's performance is probably the most charismatic in the film (Julia's bombastic villain notwithstanding), and of course, it's very cool seeing Chun-Li's famous kicks in live-action. Wen got in such incredible shape, she even famously hit another actor so hard they cried.

But did you know that, in addition to Wen's portrayal of the live-action version of Chun-Li, she also starred as the voice of the character in the 1995 video game version of the movie as well? That's right, there was a Street Fighter: The Movie – The Game and Wen added her vocal talents there, too. Which brings us to probably the biggest part of Wen's career: her voice acting.

Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?

Long before Wen became a star of modern Disney series like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Mandalorian, she had an enormous breakthrough starring as the titular character in the beloved 1998 Disney animated film Mulan. Mulan, of course, is the story of a young girl who disguises herself as a man so she can take her father's place as a soldier and fight to protect her people from the evil Huns. Not only is Mulan a part of Disney's beloved run of '90s animated classics, but its story continues to resonate so strongly that a live-action version — unfortunately delayed by the industry-wide theater shutdown — remains one of the most anticipated films of the year.

Mulan, however, is just one drop in a sea of voice work Wen has done over the years. If her voice sounds familiar, it might be because of her role as Jade on Todd McFarlane's Spawn, or as Detective Ellen Yin on The Batman, or more recently, as Finn's Mom on Adventure Time.

Her first role came on a beautiful day in the neighborhood

But if you're brain is still itching, if there's still something you're remembering Ming-Na Wen from way, way back in the deepest recesses of your mind, there are a lot of possibilities. Wen's decades-long career has seen her star in everything from dramas like ER to sci-fi stuff like Eureka and Stargate Universe. But, if your youngest lizard brain is still searching after all that, here's a little tidbit you almost certainly forgot: Wen appeared, very briefly, in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood for two episodes as Royal Trumpeter #3.

Hard to believe, but just like Batman star Michael Keaton, Wen also got her start with Fred Rogers and the Neighborhood of make Believe. Not a bad way to break in. She celebrated the 50th anniversary of the landmark show in 2018 with a celebratory tweet, featuring a pic from one of those 1985 episodes, her very first screen credit.

So, if you're wondering why Wendy Richards from The Darkness seemed so familiar, wonder no longer. She's Ming-Na Wen and you know her from, well, basically everywhere.