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Marvel Studios | Disney

You Won’t Believe all the Ways Shang-Chi Ties into the Larger MCU

Shang-Chi might be a new character to the MCU, but that doesn't mean that his film will be completely disconnected from the main Marvel timeline.
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The upcoming Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to explore the background of a character who is brand-new to the MCU. The title character, Shang-Chi, has been around in the comics since the 70s, but he’s always been a bit of a C-lister when compared to the big names like Spider-Man and the Hulk.

However, that doesn’t mean that his movie will be devoid of any connection to the MCU. In fact, some major cameos have already popped up in the trailer for the new film. I’m not sure if you’d call these spoilers, per se, but we’ll be diving into the trailer, as well as discussing the film’s other MCU connections, after this.

The Ten Rings

The titular organization, The Ten Rings, is overseen by Shang-Chi’s villainous father, Wen Wu. In the comics, the Ten Rings organization is overseen by a villain named The Mandarin, a common antagonist of Iron Man. MCU fans will recognize these names from Iron Man’s solo films. The Ten Rings first appeared in the first MCU movie, 2008’s Iron Man. They’re the criminal organization that captured Tony in the desert and forced him to create weapons for them.

The Ten Rings
The symbol of the Ten Rings, as seen in Iron Man (2008) | Marvel Studios / Disney

The Mandarin, meanwhile, appeared (sort of) in Iron Man 3, though he was actually an actor named Trevor Slattery. In the Marvel One-Shot “Hail to the King,” Slattery is informed by a Ten Rings assassin that the real Mandarin is furious with him for using his name. As such, we might expect to see the disgraced actor make some kind of cameo in Shang-Chi.

The Fighting Ring

In the trailer, a fight can be seen between what would appear to be some kind of giant monster and a wizard. The fight appears to be taking place in Madripoor, a location that viewers of Falcon and the Winter Soldier will recognize.

The combatants are even more eye-opening: a quick freeze frame indicates that the monster is Emil Blonsky, AKA Abomination, the primary antagonist of the 2008 Hulk film. This will mark his first appearance in the MCU in 13 years.

The other combatant is likely Wong, a character first introduced in Doctor Strange. Wong is a wizard, like the Sorcerer Supreme, and boasts commendable fighting ability. Fans are delighted to see these two characters making a cameo appearance in the film. This kind of ongoing continuity is what makes the MCU such a fun world for fans to follow.

The Master of Kung Fu

While these little connections are a fun way to string the stories together, the real action in Shang-Chi is likely to be the fights. The legendary Master of Kung Fu is one of the best hand-to-hand combatants in the Marvel canon. It’s exciting to think that the MCU can continue to push out into other genre films and put its own unique spin on something like a martial arts film.

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will hit theaters on September 3.