Following Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be helping kick off Phase Four as Marvel’s second film to launch after the pandemic.
However, unlike Black Widow, Shang-Chi won’t be able to stream at home through Disney Plus Premier Access – meaning the cinema will be the only place to see Marvel’s first leading Asian actor in action on release.
If the first trailer is anything to go by however, the film will certainly look good on the big screen, with rising star Simu Liu showing off all of the titular character’s martial arts skills.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton (Just Mercy), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings sees our hero attempt to leave his troubled past behind, only to be dragged back into the darkness by his villainous father.
Shang-Chi certainly looks like it will have some of the best fight choreography in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (visit our Marvel movies in order page for more on the rets of the MCU) – here’s everything you need to know as the film split kicks its way into movie theatres.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings release date
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will now be released on 3rd September 2021. It was previously set for 9th July, having originally been rescheduled from 8th May.
It is one of many changes to the recently commenced Marvel phase four with Black Widow now releasing (in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access) on 9th July – the date previously held for Shang-Chi – and Spider-Man: No Way Home coming on 17th December, 2021.
However, unlike Black Widow, Disney has confirmed that Shang-Chi will not be available on Disney+ Premier Access and be released exclusively in cinemas.
An official trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was released in April 2021, showing off Liu’s exciting action scenes (and plenty of character backstory) in what looks to be a battle-packed entry in the MCU.
Check out the full trailer above.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings cast
Simu Liu will play the title role of Shang-Chi, who has previously been known in the comic books as the Master of Kung Fu, an expert martial artist trying to escape his past.
That’s no easy task when your father is the formidable Wenwu, better known by his super villain pseudonym The Mandarin, who is set to be played by veteran actor Tony Leung, one of Asia’s brightest stars.
“A character like Wenwu could have easily been a one-dimensional villain with no heart,” Cretton told Entertainment Weekly. “Tony opened this character up [so] this is an antagonist who has a deep ability to love.”
Meanwhile, comedy star Awkwafina (Nora From Queens) will play Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, Michelle Yeoh (Star Trek: Discovery) will play Jiang Nan and heavyweight boxer Florian Munteanu also stars as comic-book villain Razor Fist.
“She doesn’t do a lot of the heavy lifting,” Awkwafina told EW of her character Katy. “But at the end of the day, she has a real heart, and she has a loyalty and dedication to her friendship with Shang-Chi. She’s super brave.”
In April 2021, it was reported by Deadline that Dallas Liu (Pen15) had joined the cast of the film in an undisclosed role, joining Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang and Ronny Chieng in the supporting cast.
Who is Shang-Chi?
Shang-Chi is a Chinese superhero who first appeared in a Special Marvel Edition comic in 1973.
In the comics, he is a Chinese-American, born in the Honan province in China, who was trained in martial arts from infancy by his father Fu Manchu (who would later turn out to be evil). He often teams up with fellow martial artist Iron Fist, though following the botched Netflix version of the character played by Finn Jones, it seems unlikely Danny Rand/Iron Fist will make the crossover to the big screen now.
Based on the trailer, in this version of the story Shang-Chi’s baddie dad will be classic Iron Man villain The Mandarin (Tony Leung), a previous version of whom appeared in Iron Man 3 (see below). It seems the story will reimagine Shang-Chi as a man trained from childhood to be an assassin, but who declines to join his father’s criminal empire as an adult.
“The most exciting thing about stepping into this character was that his backstory has never been told before,” Liu told EW. “We know so many different versions of Batman’s origin story, how his parents were murdered when he was very young. We know Peter Parker, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, and he loses his uncle.
“Shang-Chi’s story is very much unknown to most of the world, so we had a lot of freedom and creative liberty to make it the way that we wanted to.”
Who will play Shang-Chi?
Canadian actor Simu Liu will star as the Master of Kung Fu in the upcoming film.
Liu was one of several actors in the running for the movie including Power Rangers’ Ludi Lin, and was reportedly confirmed for the role just days before his official unveiling at San Diego Comic-Con.
Liu had previously lobbied for the role on Twitter as early as 2014, a fact he shared once his casting had been confirmed.
Thanks for getting back to me https://t.co/FFRuM03p20— Simu Liu (@SimuLiu) July 21, 2019
Why is the title Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and how does it connect to Iron Man?
Intriguingly, the Ten Rings refer to a classic Iron Man villain called The Mandarin, who used 10 mystical rings to give himself immense magical power and who faced off with Tony Stark many times over the years.
In the very first Iron Man movie the Ten Rings were introduced as a terrorist organisation who abducted Robert Downy Jr’s Stark to build them missiles, while a new version of the Mandarin – portrayed as an actor called Trevor pretending to be a terrorist as a cover for behind-the-scenes forces – was the main villain in Iron Man 3.
At that time the “real” Mandarin was revealed to be Guy Pearce’s super-powered Aldrich Killian, but a special short film called All Hail the King on the Iron Man 3 DVD hinted that there was yet another version of the character.
In the 15-minute short, Ben Kingsley’s fake terrorist actor Trevor was broken out of prison by the Ten Rings terrorist group, with the intention of taking him to meet the one true Mandarin. Apparently, he wasn’t too happy by Trevor co-opting his name.
And now with the Mandarin confirmed as the Shang-Chi film’s villain, it’s more than possible that we could see some more references to the Iron Man movies, or even a return for Trevor. Trust a movie all about rings to bring everything full circle.
During an interview with EW, producer Jonathan Schwartz and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige teased that this new Mandarin indeed has ties to the Ten Rings terrorist group – and that he is far more dangerous than Trevor.
“I think people hear ‘the Mandarin’ and expect a very specific kind of thing, and that may not be the thing they’re getting,” Schwartz told EW. “They’re hopefully getting a more complex and layered take on the character than that name would lead you to.”