Marvel’s Phase 4 is a new world for the ongoing comic-based franchise. After spending the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe focusing mainly on white male superheroes, Phase IV is deliberately embracing a more diverse pantheon. That includes the full set of Eternals characters coming in November of 2021, as well as
Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings , which will arrive ahead of it in September.
Marvel isn't just diversifying in front of the camera.
Shang-Chi is helmed by Destin Daniel Cretton, the Asian American director behind such films as The Glass Castle and the Michael B. Jordan vehicle Just Mercy. The upcoming movie also stars rising Canadian Chinese star Simu Liu as Marvel's first on-screen Asian superhero to lead his own film.
Shang-Chi had only just gotten underway in Australia when the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down in early 2020. But after getting back to work, Shang-Chi finished principal photography in October 2020 and is now confirmed for a 2021 release. With new photos, a brand new trailer, and a September release date, the film has fans all kinds of excited for this new superhero to enter the Marvelverse.
But what can fans expect from
Shang-Chi once it arrives? Let's run down everything we know about the upcoming Marvel film: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Trailer
The first official teaser for Marvel’s
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrived on April 19, 2021 (which just so happened to be lead actor Simu Liu’s birthday). The teaser gave fans their first look at several of the film’s central characters, including Awkwafina as Katy. It also reveals Shang-Chi’s mysterious father, Wenwu, who hardcore Marvel fans will know as the real Mandarin, played by the legendary Tony Leung.
The film’s official trailer arrived on June 28 and laid out Shang-Chi’s origin story for fans unfamiliar with it. Along with more details of Wenwu, fans also got a good look at Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, Fala Chen as Jiang Li, and Meng’er Zhang as Xialing, Shang-Chi’s estranged sister.
The trailer also introduced the titular “Ten Rings,” letting fans see the magical instrument that helps give The Mandarin his power.
And it held a genuine surprise: The return of Abomination, played by Tim Roth, who can be heard and seen in the cage fighting sequence. The character was the main villain in 2008’s
The Incredible Hulk film (the one with Ed Norton as Banner). Roth was already announced to be reprising the role in Disney+’s ; this is the first time fans have learned he’ll be re-entering the MCU ahead of that appearance. She-Hulk come 2022 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Cast Shang-Chi brings a brand new character and story to the Marvelverse, arriving for the first time in Phase 4 with actor Simu Liu ( Kim’s Convenience) as Shang-Chi. Since then, there have been a few more names added. Michelle Yeoh and Awkwafina from Crazy Rich Asians are both confirmed to star; Yeoh will play Jiang Nan, while Awkwafina will be Shang-Chi’s American friend Katy, who will get “sucked into his world” when Shang-Chi’s past comes calling.
Rosalind Chao (
The Joy Luck Club) and Ronny Chieng ( The Daily Show) have also been spotted on the film’s set; the latter has been confirmed to be playing Jon Jon, Shang-Chi’s friend. The teasers have also helped identify who plays who, including Florian Munteanu as the assassin Razor Fist.
Additionally, Tony Leung’s character, Wenwu, will serve as the main antagonist. He plays a new take on the legendary Mandarin.
According to producers, this “reimagined version of the character” is unrelated to the comics and has not previously been seen in the MCU. Fans who expect the comic book version (or a tie back to Ben Kingsley’s Fake Mandarin in Iron Man 3) may be in for an expectations adjustment.
In confirmed crossover characters, Benedict Wong will reprise his
Dr. Strange role of Wong, while Tim Roth’s Abomination has been spotted in the latest trailer. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Plot Details
Marvel has been cagey about
Shang-Chi's plot details, but fans have a good idea where the film is heading, based on the new trailer.
As a boy, Shang-Chi grew up under the tutelage of his father, unaware of his family's ties to organized crime and violence. But as a young man, he realized just how bad his father's work was. Rather than accept and join, he moved to the U.S. in an attempt to reject his past.
But as in all superhero origin stories, the past doesn't stay there. It's not long before Shang-Chi finds himself having to use his extensive years of martial arts training by his father to stay one step ahead of the bad guys and protect his found family.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Theories
Despite the confirmation that the film's new take on the Mandarin will be unrelated to all previous iterations, the film still hints at tie-backs to the
Iron Man franchise.
The titular Ten Rings, for example, have been a running easter egg throughout the three phases of the Marvel
Infinity saga, starting with the original Iron Man film. Fans have theorized this will form the initial set of callbacks throughout the Shang-Chi film, as every minor character who ever sported a Ten Rings tattoo throughout the series seems to be reported to be have a cameo.
Iron Man connection has also given rise to the idea that Shang-Chi might have another cameo: War Machine. Marvel recently confirmed War Machine will star in his own Disney+ show, Armor Wars, but not until 2022 or 2023. Adding War Machine to Shang-Chi would help tie in the new character while keeping actor Don Cheadle involved in the Marvel universe in the meantime. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Premiere Date
In the initial schedule for Phase 4 released back in 2019,
Shang-Chi was slated to take the slot where Black Panther did so well in 2018, President's Day weekend. That placed it after The Eternals in November but before Dr. Strange 2 in May.
The pandemic has since upended all that. After multiple moves that pushed back the entire Phase 4,
Shang-Chi wound up with a release date between the original 2020 films of Black Widow and The Eternals. It was first scheduled to arrive as the big Independence Day holiday film on July 9. But the final shift of Black Widow has pushed it back once again to the beginning of September. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is slated to be an exclusively theatrical release, landing on Sept. 3, 2021.