What does Shang-Chi mean for the MCU?

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is an origin story like we’ve never seen before. For most of Marvel’s titular characters; Captain America, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Thor, etc., their story starts with an origin movie. The movie usually starts with a character flaw, the character overcoming that flaw, and then the character realizing their true power. However, Shang-Chi’s origin story is much darker and sets him up to be one of the most powerful characters in the MCU. 

Familiar Faces 

After Wenwu’s children object to his plan to destroy Ta Lo, he has them as well as Katy, imprisoned at the Ten-Rings compound. While in the prison, the three meet a familiar face from the MCU, Trevor Slattery. Many fans remember him as “The Mandarin” or the face of the criminal organization led by Dr. Aldrich Killian in “Iron Man 3”. Apparently Wenwu did not take kindly to Slattery pretending to be him and had him imprisoned ever since. Slattery’s appearance means that “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” has been, in true Marvel fashion, in the works for at least the last seven years. As mentioned before, many fans recognize Slattery from Iron Man 3, but few fans will recognize him from one of Marvel’s “One-Shots”, released in 2014. In this particular episode, Slattery is being held in a high security prison and is being interviewed by Jackson Norriss. Unbeknownst to Slattery, Norriss is a member of the Ten-Rings and reveals to Slattery that the actual Mandarin is very angry with Slattery’s portrayal. Norriss kidnaps Slattery from the prison and he is then kept at the Ten-Rings compound until Shang-Chi, Xialing, and Katy arrive. However, he is not the first familiar face seen in the movie.   

   The first familiar face fans see is Wong, who is seen participating in Xialing’s underground fight club and battling Emil Blonsky’s Abomination from “The Incredible Hulk”. While the fight between the two doesn’t seem to advance the plot of the movie, it does conveniently remind fans that they will see the villain again in “She-Hulk”. This is Wong’s only appearance in the films, but true Marvel fans know to wait for the mid-credits and post credits scenes. 

Mid-Credits Scene Breakdown



The mid-credits scene shows Wong pulling Shang-Chi and Katy through a portal into the Sanctum Sanctorum in order to examine the ten rings. Waiting for them in the library are Dr. Bruce Banner (mysteriously in human form) and Carol Danvers. They say that the ten rings don’t match anything in Dr. Strange’s codex of artifacts and they seem to be setting off a weird energy signal. 

First things first, why isn’t Bruce Banner Professor Hulk anymore? Last we saw him, he had merged Bruce and the Hulk together through 18 months of radiation. He had his arm in a sling after he snapped to return half the population which is still there but he is now in human form. Did the radiation from the snap slowly turn him back into human Bruce Banner? Will we learn more about this in Marvel’s “She-Hulk”? Probably. 

Next, why are Wong and Strange collecting and cataloging artifacts? Are they trying to keep another “snap” from happening? Last time Avengers took preventative measures, Ultron was created, so hopefully they’re careful. While it is not revealed what exactly the ten rings are, we know that they are very old and are emitting enough energy to draw the attention of Captain Marvel. Could they come back in “The Eternals”?

Post Credits Scene Breakdown

Xialing is supposed to be taking care of shutting down the Ten-Rings organization, however, that’s not quite what is happening. Xialing appears to be “rebranding” the Ten-Rings organization into a more ethical and female-centric organization. The screen goes to black and “The Ten Rings will return” appears on the screen, so no matter what is actually happening with Xialing, it sounds like her story and that of the Ten-Rings is far from over. 

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” has concreted a place in the MCU. Not just with the amazing special effects and fight choreography, but also with the compelling storyline. Marvel has created a powerful and altruistic hero for Phase four and I, for one, am very excited to see his story unfold. 

By Colleen Malucci


Also Check:Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer Breakdown.

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About Shivam Rai

Sometimes you gotta run before you can walk.

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