“Shang-Chi” Kicks Into Theatres Soon, Questions Remain
New posters adorned the exterior of the AMC Theatre in Disney Springs today, announcing the arrival of Marvel’s newest hero, Shang-Chi. The poster at the AMC theatre shows Shang-Chi wielding five of the Ten Rings with an orange hue. We know from the trailer that the other five glow blue. What do the colors mean and what do they have to do with the movie? To answer that, we need to dive into the encyclopedia of the MCU and the Marvel comics.
Who is Shang-Chi?
The idea of magic was first teased in “Thor ” when Natalie Portman’s, Jane Foster, recited a Arthur C. Clarke quote stating, “Magic’s just science we don’t understand yet.” We were then introduced to Wanda Maximoff in a “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” post-credit scene utilizing red “chaos” magic.
“Doctor Strange” then confirmed the idea of magic in the MCU with sorcerers of Kamar Taj using magic that is fiery orange, matching Shang-Chi’s rings. Finally in “Wandavision,” we were graced with Agatha Harkness and her power-stealing purple magic. It has been a long strange journey with magic, but even stranger with it wielded by Shang-Chi.
In the comics, Shang-Chi does not have magical abilities or even access to magic. However, this does not appear to slow him down. The Marvel god Ares proclaims that he is “one of the few mortals who can hold their own against a god without the use of magic.”
Giving a character like this magical abilities speaks to the arms race of powers in the post “Avengers: Endgame” world. Which begs the question … what are the Ten Rings?
The Legend of the Ten Rings
The Ten Rings as an organization made their appearance in 2008’s “Iron Man.” There they were portrayed as a period-appropriate terrorist organization that kidnapped Tony Stark with the purpose of manufacturing weapons. They “appeared” again in Iron Man 3, however it was just a front to get Tony’s attention.
Ben Kingsley’s The Mandarin turned out to be an actor in disguise, making a mockery of the Ten Rings. All that changed after the Marvel: One Shot “All Hail the King,” which showed Kingsley’s character being abducted from prison to meet the real Mandarin. We now know from the Shang-Chi trailers that the Ten Rings refer to magical armbands possessed by the Mandarin himself.
But again, who is Shang-Chi?
With all this backstory looping throughout the entire MCU, it’s puzzling that people are still in the dark about the movie. Perhaps this relates to the relative obscurity of the main character.
Marvel sought to capitalize on the Kung-Fu movies of the 1970s and attempted to acquire the rights of the TV show “Kung Fu.” However, they were denied by the parent company of their comics rival, D.C. As a result, Marvel instead acquired rights to characters from novelist Sax Rohmer and developed a new character called Shang-Chi. His original comics ran from 1973 to 1983 and has been a mainstay ever since.
In a recent interview with Empire magazine, Kevin Feige revealed that in a very early 2000’s meeting of what characters they meant to bring to life; Shang-Chi was on that list. Given that Feige is a fan-boy of the character there is little doubt that much love and care was put into this movie. As a reward, Rotten Tomatoes currently has a 91% rating which would have it tied for #7 with 2012’s “Avengers” out of all 24 movies. That is amazing company for this new expansion to live with.
Shang-Chi kicks into theatres on September 3rd, 2021.