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Shang-Chi Breakdown & How It Sets Up Future MCU Stuff
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings has finally premiered in Malaysian cinemas on 30 September 2021. It was another great entry in the MCU with some of the franchise’s best action and fighting scenes (check out the full review here). However, now it’s time for the ComicsLord to break down and look at the easter eggs in the movie, as well as discuss how the movie’s TWO post-credit scenes will set up future Marvel Cinematic Universe movies or TV series.
In the movie, Wong fights the Abomination in a ring match. Wong knocks him out by opening portals to make Abomination’s punch hit himself, which results in the Abomination knocks himself out in one punch. The fight ends with Wong leading the Abomination to what looks like a prison. The Raft (the same place that Captain America and his team was imprisoned after Captain America Civil War), maybe?
Why was Abomination there with Wong? It’s never clearly explained. Apparently, it was a “training” session for Abomination to “control” his punches. Why would Wong be teaching the Abomination to hold back in a fight?
We still don’t know for sure, but Emil Blonsky AKA Abomination is already confirmed to appear in the upcoming Disney+ She-Hulk series, which means that the question might be answered there when it comes out in 2022.
He looks different than in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. He now has fins as ears and looks a lot more like the comics book version. However, he seems less aggressive and more human-like. Perhaps this is a reformed Abomination? A ‘good’ Abomination?
The Raft is also the prison for Baron Zemo, who returned there after the events of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier. Maybe Zemo will build his Thunderbolts team with Abomination as one of them? Only time will tell.
In the movie, it is established that Ta Lo is the village where Shang-Chi’s mother comes from. It is located in a different dimension filled with mystical beasts and magic. Ta Lo is also in the comics, but it’s never been much of a prominent place. However, what makes Ta Lo interesting is that it opens the door to other interdimensional cities being introduced in the MCU, including the iconic K’un-Lun.
What is K’un-Lun? It’s a mystical city where Danny Rand gained his powers and became Iron Fist.
In one scene, Michelle Yeoh’s Ying Nan even mentions that Ta Lo is bigger than just a small village. There are (or used to be) large cities more advanced than anything on Earth. This sounds a lot like K’un-Lun, or any of the other Heavenly Cities (there are Eight Heavenly Cities in the Marvel universe in the comics).
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings won’t be the last we’ll hear about Ta Lo or cities in other dimensions, that’s for sure. Fingers crossed for K’un-Lun and a proper version of Iron Fist in the MCU (let’s just forget about that atrocious Netflix Iron Fist series).
With the multiverse now in play, nothing is impossible.
The true antagonist of Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings isn’t really Wenwu (Tony Leung) at all, but a demonic entity from another dimension named Dweller-In-Darkness. In the movie, he manipulates Wenwu into releasing him from his prison and later kills him. It takes everyone’s best efforts, including Katy’s bow and arrow skills and Shang-Chi using the ten rings, to finally take down the Dweller-In-Darkness for good.
In the comics, the Dweller-In-Darkness is a Fear Lord demon from the dimension Everinnye. He feeds on the fear of living beings, as consuming fear both increase his powers and keeps him alive. However, the movie changes this to feeding on the souls of living beings.
What’s interesting here is that Doctor Strange villain Nightmare is also a Fear Lord from the same Everinnye dimension as Dweller-In-Darkness. If so, this could indicate the existence of Nightmare, thereby increasing the chances of him appearing as an antagonist in the upcoming Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. This villain has long been rumoured as the next Doctor Strange villain, ever since the 2016 movie first came out.
In the movie, it is never explicitly or truly explained where or how Wenwu (Tony Leung) discovered the ten rings (the weapon, not the organization). However, it is mentioned that he may have found them “in a crater” or a “tomb”. That’s interesting, because, in the comics, the original Mandarin discovered the ten rings in a crater alongside a starship and the skeleton of an alien dragon named Axonn-Karr from the planet Maklu IV.
The origin of the ten rings is left ambiguous throughout the movie, but in the first post-credits scene, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) meets Wong (Benedict Wong), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and Captain Marvel (Alison Brie) to discuss the ten rings.
They discover that not only are the ten rings thousands of years old (thus pre-dating even Wenwu’s discovery of them), but the ten rings are also actively giving out a signal with a beacon. A signal to space. To whom? It’s not revealed, because according to Captain Marvel, it’s not based on any alien technology that she knows.
Still, if the origins of the ten rings in the MCU follows the comics, then they must be signalling back to Maklu IV. the planet of the alien dragons. Comic book fans will know that one famous Marvel villain is a Makluan alien dragon named Fin Fang Foom, who is often an enemy of Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, amongst others.
Still, if it’s not Fin Fang Foom or the Makluans, who could the ten rings be signalling to?
Personally, I would love to see the Annihilation Wave. The Annihilation crossover is one of the most epic storylines I’ve ever read, and the Annihilation Wave is a galactic-level horde of insectoid aliens led by a villain named Annihilus, who comes from another dimension called the Negative Zone. They’re so powerful that they wiped out the Kree and Skrull empires, as well as used Galactus to power their planet-destroying weapon.
The second post-credits scene in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is shorter and seemingly less significant than the first. At the end of the movie, we hear Shang-Chi mention that her sister was going to their ancestral home to “shut down” the Ten Rings organization.
Little did he know how he was. The second post-credits scene reveals that his sister, Xu Xialing (Mengâ€™er Zhang), has actually taken over the Ten Rings, effectively replacing her father as the leader of the organization. She then proclaims that this is “a new Ten Rings” and that they have a lot of “work to do”.
Unfortunately, the Ten Rings organization is an original creation of the MCU, so it doesn’t exist in the comics. As such, there’s no precedent so it’s hard to say what would happen. The closest comic book equivalent of the Ten Rings organization is the Five Weapons Society, which Shang-Chi is currently the leader of. Becoming the leader of his father’s terrorist organization has soured his reputation in the perspective of many superheroes, leading to fights between Shang-Chi and heroes like the Fantastic Four and more.
Interestingly, the second post-credits scene ends with the words “THE TEN RINGS WILL RETURN.” in massive fonts, which means that we might see them in a future movie or TV series. Maybe the upcoming Secret Invasion, Ironheart or Armor Wars shows on Disney+? It will likely be a while before we get a sequel to Shang-Chi, if ever.