Mandatory Easter Eggs: ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Trailer Finally Introduces First Asian Marvel Superhero (And 9 Things You Maybe Didn’t Notice)
Marvel Studios released the first teaser trailer and poster for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on the birthday of its star, Simu Liu—the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Asian superhero (sorry Wong). Set for a fall release the trailer sees Liu’s titular character in all his Kung-Fu (and a variety of other martial arts) glory.
The story will follow Shang-Chi who, after being given “ten years to live [his] life” in San Francisco, is coerced into returning home to finish his training as heir apparent of the criminal organization, the Ten Rings. For all those with either cursory knowledge of the comics or are completely clueless as to this Shang-Chi guy and his daddy issues, here are nine things you maybe (probably) didn’t notice/require elaboration.
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Disney Owns Everything
Early on in the trailer, Shang-Chi and Awkawafina’s Katy sing karaoke to Aladdin’s “A Whole New World”—which is both symbolic of Shang-Chi bringing Katy into a literal “new world” and a reminder that Disney owns Marvel Studios...as well as everything else.
War (Guardian) Lions
War lions just sounds cooler. In one of the trailer’s many flashbacks (spanning decades and rumored to explore the days of Genghis Khan), the Mandarin’s forces fight a group of robed warriors, tiny dragons, and guardian lions—who are often depicted as statues outside Chinese palaces and other sacred places. In the comics, the Mandarin seeks to use his titular Ten Rings (which he also names his empire after) to awaken a dragon known as Fin Fang Foom, who is actually an alien. That said, this battle most likely takes place in the Valley of the Sleeping Dragon. So yeah, expect an alien dragon in the film’s climax.
Martial Arts Movie References
From a poster of Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle inside Shang-Chi’s apartment to an affinity for yellow uniforms reminiscent of Bruce Lee movies or Gordon Liu in The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Shang-Chi clearly pays homage to martial arts cinema of old.
This masked figure is seen training young Shang-Chi and also fighting present-day Shang-Chi. The Death Dealer is supposedly a loyal subject of the Mandarin/the Ten Rings and most likely the film's primary antagonist. In the comics, he’s secretly a former MI6 agent but his identity will probably be different here.
Tournament of Champions
Every Kung Fu movie has to have a tournament. Therefore, a fighting pit is seen twice in the trailer, hinting at a cage-fight-esque tournament where a handful of characters square off in hand-to-hand combat; including Shang-Chi’s estranged sister Meng'er Zhang’s Xialing. Will Wolverine show up? No. It’s worth mentioning that the setting for these fights vaguely resembles The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Madripoor.
Florian Muneanu's (Creed II) Scissorhands shows ups twice to fight Shang-Chi in the trailer. In the comics, he’s also a member of the Ten Rings; the mantle of “Razor Fist” being primarily held by Douglas Scott. However, instead of two missing limbs, this Scott only has one (for now). Scott is also known to take jobs in Madripoor, reinforcing the location’s importance in Shang-Chi.
The Ten Rings
In addition to being the name of Tony Leung’s Wenwu aka the Mandarin’s criminal/terrorist organization, they’re also the source of his power. In the comics, they’re depicted as ten literal rings, each possessing the power of a cosmic warrior—something Shang-Chi is definitely incorporating. However, the adaptation of these alien artifacts are more bracelets than rings.
The real Mandarin, not the drunken thespian played by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3. In the comics, Shang-Chi’s father is actually Fu Manchu. However, that character is deplorable dated, stereotypical, and, well, racist. So, Marvel Studios is making the Mandarin/Wenwu Shang-Chi’s father, combining elements of both characters. As evident by the trailer, this guy doesn’t age (thanks to the rings) and for some reason needs his son to return home and take up his throne.
The (ancient) forest battle above is between the Mandarin and another character draped in yellow, garb similar to that won by the original Iron Fists in the comics. If this character does possess the power of an Iron Fist, Shang-Chi could be laying the groundwork for an Iron Fist reboot (that Netflix series was awful) and a mini Kung-Fu universe inside the MCU.
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