Marvel fandom is abuzz with news of the latest offering from the MCU – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Ever since the trailer dropped yesterday, there’s been everything from breakdowns to deep dives and theories about what’s going to happen in the movie.
But let’s slow down and look into who this characters is, considering he’s a new entry, not too well known, and he’s also Marvel’s first Asian superhero.
In the comics, Shang-Chi was born in China and is the son of the supervillain Fu Manchu. However, Marvel no longer owns the rights to that character (and Marvel also believes Fu Manchu is associated with racist stereotypes).
So in the movie, Shang-Chi is the son of Wenwu/The Mandarin, a powerful figure who is the leader of the dreaded terrorist organisation known as the Ten Rings.
A fake version of The Mandarin was seen in Iron-Man 3, played by Ben Kingsley. According to director Destin Daniel Cretton,
I avoided making Wenwu a one-dimensional villain with no heart by allowing the character to have a deep ability to love.
Shang-Chi was trained from a very young age by his father to become a deadly assassin, resulting in him being a highly skilled martial artist (possibly the greatest martial artist on Earth).
However, he became disillusioned with his father’s views, and thus leaves the Ten Rings organization in order to create a normal life for himself in San Francisco.
As he finds out more about his father’s evil nature and the criminal empire that is the Ten Rings, he begins to fight against it. His father also wants him back in the fold, one way or another, leading to violent clashes between them and a resurgence of his past.
As you’ve seen in the trailer, Shang-Chi will be up against a wide range of foes in this film, from masked assassins to guys with razors instead of fists. However, the film will also deal with the culture clash of being Asian in the US, as director Destin Daniel Cretton has mentioned. For now, we’re just enjoying the hype!