You have to feel for Rachel Chu, Constance Wu’s character in the upcoming movie adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians. She boards a plane to Singapore under the impression that she's simply going to the wedding of her boyfriend's (Henry Golding) best friend, not entering into a ruthless Hunger Games dome masked by luxury. To Rachel, her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) is an affable, intelligent, and ridiculously cute econ professor. To the elites of Singapore, he’s a Young – the scion of one of the region’s wealthiest and most powerful families.
Once in Singapore, Rachel will be enmeshed in the money-fueled politics of Nick’s sprawling family. Worse, as Nick’s girlfriend, she’ll be under intense scrutiny by everyone – especially his mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). You know what would've helped Rachel navigate this nest of vipers significantly? A portable, handy dandy family tree that she could've consulted before each gathering. We're better boyfriends than Nick, clearly, because we've created this Crazy Rich Asians family tree of the most significant relationships you'll encounter in the movie — though the book is bursting with even more characters (seriously, poor Rachel).
Each book in Kevin Kwan's Crazy Rich Asians trilogy opens with an elaborate family tree graphic. The books are bursting with character profiles and excursions into the lives of Nick's far-flung family members. While reading the book, I frequently consulted the chart to keep track of book's Youngs, Shengs, Leungs, and Chengs — it is, believe it or not, more challenging than keeping up with the Kardashians. Broadly speaking, most roads in Nick's family head back to Su Yi Young, née Shang, Nick's grandmother and the elderly matriarch who lives in the lavish, secluded estate Tyersall Park. Su Yi and her brother, Alfred, inherited her father's fortune.
Su Yi and her husband, Sir James Young, had four children: Three daughters (including Astrid and Eddie's mothers), and a son, Philip, who became Nick's father. This means Eddie Cheng, Alistair Cheng, and Astrid Leung are Nick's first cousins. Alfred, Su Yi's brother, relocated to England and raised his family there. While Alfred and his posh kids show up in the books, they likely won't play a part in the movie.
Hold on tight, because we're not done explicating Nick's family tree yet. Oliver T'sien is Nick's cousin, and the collector of all juicy family gossip. The T'sien branch is the least wealthy of the Shang, Young, and T'sien trio — but everyone's still wealthier than Rachel. Essentially, once the family discovers she's from California and not related to the Gettys, she's disqualified from being eligible to date Nick.
Study up, and hope that if you ever date the heir to a massive fortune, you're more prepared than Rachel.