The Master of Kung Fu is finally coming to the MCU in 2021.
The Phase 4 announcements out of Comic-Con this year were a non-stop barrage of info about countless upcoming MCU projects–some focusing on familiar faces, others like The Eternals and Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, not so much.
Though Shang-Chi may be a completely new addition to the MCU, it doesn’t mean he’s coming totally out of left field as Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige revealed at the panel. The seeds have been sown for Shang’s arrival from the very, very beginning. Of course, we still don’t know exactly what that may mean, or how that will play out in the movie itself–we’re still over a year away from this one, so don’t expect too many nitty-gritty details just yet.
Still, we’ve compiled what little info we do have into one place, and we’ll keep it updated as we learn more.
The cast is brand new
There is no shortage of returning cast members for other MCU projects in Phase 4, but Shang-Chi is full of fresh faces. So far, the confirmed cast is:
Simu Liu as Shang-Chi
Tony Leung as The Mandarin
Awkwafina as an unannounced character
The release date is fast approaching
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will hit theaters on February 12, 2021.
The Mandarin is real, and he’s pissed
You read that cast list right–the Mandarin, the villain we thought we’d already dealt with back in Iron Man 3–actually does exist in the MCU, and he’s not a fraud played by a schlubby actor being paid off by AIM.
According to Kevin Feige, who announced the casting at a panel during San Diego Comic-Con this year, the real Mandarin has been lurking in the background of the MCU from the very start, and he is less than thrilled about the imposter. However, we still don’t know what that will bring about for Phase 4, or what that will have to do with Shang-Chi himself. Our guess is a whole lot of trouble.
The Ten Rings is an MCU conspiracy that’s been around from the beginning
Over in Marvel Comics, the Ten Rings are literally ten magically empowered rings that the Mandarin wears–one for each finger. In the MCU, however, it’s more a metaphorical thing–potentially a large scale conspiratorial organization that has been working from the shadows since the very, very beginning. You can see echoes of the real Ten Rings (not the AIM-funded cover-up) in movies like Iron Man and even Ant-Man where they secretly expressed some interest in Pym Particle tech.
What this could all mean, and why they’ve been lurking well out of the spotlight for so long, is a major question.
It might be a family affair
There’s a good chance the real Mandarin’s comic book origins will be overhauled in more than one way for the movie, including a major shift in his relationship with Shang-Chi. The current most likely hypothesis is that the Mandarin will be altered to be Shang-Chi’s father, Zheng Zu. This change, if it’s indeed the route the movie takes, could also pave the way for the introduction of Fah Lo Suee, Shang-Chi’s half-sister, a likely candidate for Awkwafina’s mystery role.