Marvel’s upcoming release Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been in the making for a long time. But, it wasn’t confirmed until 2019 at the San Diego Comic-Con, where the media franchise unveiled its plans for the ongoing Phase Four, including all the movies and TV shows that would be released.
The first attempts of a Shang-Chi movie adaptation can be traced back to 2001 when it entered development, and the film was initially slated for an early 2021 release. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the schedule had to be pushed back considerably, which resulted in the movie being delayed to September.
Not only will the upcoming film feature a primarily Asian-led cast, but it was also announced that the role of Shang-Chi would be going to Simu Liu, who will become the first actor of Asian descent to lead a Marvel film.
Earlier this week, the studio dropped the official teaser for Shang-Chi, which has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from fans who seem to be excited for the character’s debut on screen.
The teaser looks into the premise of the upcoming film and introduces most of the characters. But unlike other Marvel enthusiasts who are not familiar with the comics, recognizing them all can be tricky.
Who is the Mandarin? Who are the Ten Rings, and who is Shang-Chi? Let’s take a look.
1. Who Is Shang-Chi?
From the teaser, Shang-Chi is introduced to be a young man living in America working as a valet and having fun with his friends. However, he constantly keeps on getting flashbacks of his childhood life back in China, where he was severely trained to excel at martial arts.
His training was overlooked by his father Wenwu and a masked figure who seems to be the Death Dealer from the comics. In the teaser, he is seen beating Shang-Chi with a cane during his Kung Fu lessons, which probably plays a big role in his trauma.
As the clip proceeds, it becomes evident that his destiny lies in succeeding his father in an undisclosed powerful role. But, his averseness towards his father makes him reject the proposition.
The teaser filled with many action sequences also hints at Shang-Chi having enemies who want to kill him and is seen getting involved in some high-skilled martial art combat.
Overall, the teaser does a good job of setting up a basic premise with all the necessary information about the character set to take the Marvel franchise by a storm.
2. Comic Origins
A kung fu craze hit the United States in the 1970s with the introduction of many martial art films to American audiences. Thus, it was only a matter of time until Marvel got in on the hype as well, and so, Shang-Chi was born.
Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, the character made his debut in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition #15. Chinese-American character Kwai Chang Caine from the TV show Kung-fu (which previously Marvel sought to license) became an inspiration for Shang-Chi.
In the comics, he is the son of the legendary pulp villain Fu-Manchu. He initially believes his father to be a humanitarian, but a later revelation unveils his father’s real identity, and he comes to learn about his notoriety.
Soon after, he joins the British foreign intelligence service MI6 to fight against his father’s global criminal schemes. He is able to witness Fu Manchu’s death after he establishes his espionage agency called the Freelance Restorations, Ltd.
Shang-Chi has also crossed paths with Iron Fist and Tony Stark in the Marvel Comics Universe and even joined the Avengers team as a main member just for the fun of it.
Furthermore, he was also a part of an all-Asian superhero group called the Protectors. Given that the MCU is finally shedding a spotlight on Shang-Chi, perhaps it won’t be too long till we get to see the rest of the team in a standalone movie as well.
3. Who Is the Mandarin?
The MCU has teased the Mandarin before in 2013’s Iron Man 3. However, the movie portrayed Ben Kingsley’s character as an actor playing a fake Mandarin. The real Mandarin was revealed to be a new update by the MCU in the form of the movie’s main antagonist Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce), which did not go down well with fans.
But now it seems the franchise is finally set to bring the legendary character in its honest portrayal to the screen. According to the movie’s premise, Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu will take on the role of the Mandarin while pitting father and son against each other.
The character first appeared in 1964’s Tales of Suspense #50, written by Stan Lee and Don Heck. Born shortly before the Communist revolution in China, Mandarin was well-versed with the fields of science and combat.
Afterwards, he came across the wrecked ship of a dead alien dragon whose species was known as a Makluan. In the wreck, he found ten rings which he learnt to wield by studying Makluan science and which also gave him immense power.
Throughout his lifetime as a supervillain, the Mandarin has tried his hand at world domination several times and also became a prominent enemy of Iron Man after continuously trying to use his technology for his own purposes.
A. Is He Evil?
Taking over from Fu Manchu in the comics, Wenwu aka Mandarin will, in fact, play an antagonistic role in Marvel’s upcoming movie. As the former had a hand in developing Shang-Chi’s hate towards his father’s business, similarly in the movie, Wenwu’s legacy as the head of the Ten Rings will be the contending point between him and Shang-Chi.
The official teaser also hints at the tension between both characters, and it also seems that at some point, Wenwu might send members of the terrorist organization after Shang-Chi.
4. Who are the Ten Rings?
The Ten Rings is a mysterious terrorist organization based in China that seeks to destroy world peace by any means. It is led by Wenwu aka Mandarin who wishes to spread violence worldwide and wants his son Shang-Chi to assist him in his evil plans.
In the teaser, members of the group comprise of highly skilled assassins, including the Death Dealer. They are also shown playing a crucial part in Shang-Chi’s training and being sent to hunt him down at his father’s orders.
With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the organization will be making its long-awaited debut since it was first mentioned in MCU’s Phase One.
A. Portrayal in the MCU
In a major tease dating back to 2008, the Ten Rings were first name-dropped in Iron Man. It was the name of the Middle Eastern terrorist faction that kidnapped Tony Stark in Afghanistan under the orders of Obadiah Stane.
The logo of the infamous group, featuring the rings with the two crossed swords in the middle, appeared as a brief glimpse in Stark’s hostage video. The symbol also makes a much relevant comeback in Shang-Chi’s teaser with the addition of Chinese characters in the middle of each ring.
Wenwu is shown sitting in front of it, which confirms his role as the group leader. The movie also revealed that Stane was selling Stark Industries weapons to them.
However, considering that the group is based in China, it can be assumed that the Mongolian Ten Rings from Iron Man was just one of the factions of the larger group. According to Yinsen, they are multi-linguistic and well-versed in many languages, including Dari, Pashto, Mongolian, English, Urdu, Farsi, Russian, etc.
Trevor Slattery also uses the symbol in Iron Man 3 to establish his fake identity as the Mandarin.
Even though the official teaser doesn’t reveal much about the group, with Marvel’s commencement of promotions for the upcoming movie, we can only hope the trailer offers a better look at the organization and its significance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
5. About Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten rings is an upcoming American superhero film directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. It is based on the Marvel Comics character Shang-Chi.
Cast members include Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, and Ronny Chieng.
When Shang-Chi is drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization, he is forced to confront the past he thought he left behind. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the movie will be a part of its ongoing Phase Four.