One of the most highly anticipated MCU releases of 2021 is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The movie will introduce us to Simu Liu’s portrayal of the master of Kung Fu. He comes along with Tony Leung as the Mandarin and Michele Yeoh as Jiang Nan. The film’s exploration of various corners of MCU’s version of Earth might expand the world-building and bring new storytelling opportunities for the franchise’s future. In this way, Shang-Chi can drastically change the MCU at large.
1. The real Mandarin might become MCU’s new big bad
With Thanos no more existing, MCU needs a new big bad. A few people expected WandaVision to introduce Mephisto. Kang the Conqueror has been chosen to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. But neither of them would be the new big bad. Tony Leung will play the role of Mandarin in the Shang-Chi movie after Iron Man 3’s disappointing fake-out. He might be the next big villain of MCU.
2. Martial Arts
MCU had martial artists before like Dave Bautista and Georges St-Pierre. There have been martial arts-inspired action scenes that featured characters like Black Widow and Gamora. But MCU has yet to make a full-blown martial arts movie. Shang-Chi is a master martial artist. Actor Simu Liu already has a history of stunt work. His first MCU solo movie might be a complete martial arts actioner like Enter the Dragon or The Raid.
3. The Ten Rings Easter Eggs combined together
The Ten Rings have not yet made a major appearance in the MCU. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be the first movie that would feature the iconic terrorist organization. It has been said that the Ten Rings were the ones who abducted Tony Stark in the Middle East in the first Iron Man movie. Also, one of Yellowjacket’s potential buyers in Ant-Man had a Ten Rings tattoo. The Shang-Chi movie might tie together all the Ten Rings Easter Eggs.
4. Secret Avengers Line-Up
Between Civil War and Infinity War, Sokovia Accords were still in effect. Cap, Black Widow, and Falcon assembled a Secret Avengers squad where their heroics were kept on the down-low, so they can help people without being arrested. A fan theory says that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is establishing a new Secret Avengers line-up. Shang-Chi has been affiliated with the Secret Avengers in the comics. So it is possible that he might be a part of the new team.
5. The return of Iron Fist
There have been some suggestions on how MCU can incorporate the characters from Netflix’s Iron Fist. The rights of the series were reverted back to Marvel Studios like Matt Murdock representing Peter Parker in court or Jessica Jones teaming up with Carol Danvers. Iron Fist, played by Finn Jones might return in a team-up with Shang-Chi. As a pair of mystical Marvel characters with martial arts-based powers, Shang-Chi and Iron Fist have been a classic duo in the comics.
6. Fin Fang Foom
Marvel fans have put Fin Fang Foom on their Shang-Chi movie wish list. The shapeshifting alien will definitely make an interesting addition to MCU’s roster of live-action incarnations of outlandish comic book designs like Ego’s planet-with-a-face look. It might be possible that Mandarin is being set up for a big multi-movie role like Thanos. He would act as the puppet master controlling the movie’s main villain from the shadows like the Mad Titan did with Loki in 2012’s The Avengers.
7. The physical Ten Rings
A rumor that has been floating around about the plot of Shang-Chi is that it would be about a martial arts tournament where the Ten Rings will be the grand prize. Till now in the MCU, the Ten Rings has been established as a terrorist organization. But because Mandarin was revealed to be a fake in Iron Man 3, there has been no mention of the actual, physical Ten Rings.
8. The Hand
The Hand was shown as a terrifying force of antagonism in Netflix’s Daredevil series. It is a legion of ninja warriors that can take out any target they are sent to eliminate. Shang-Chi has battled the Hand’s ninjas a few times in the comics. If they are brought back to fight Shang-Chi in the movie, it can make for a spectacular action sequence.
9. Heroes for Hire
The original Heroes for Hire team had only Like Cage and Iron Fist, there have been some Heroes for Hire squads since that time. Shang-Chi was a member of the fourth incarnation of the team. Shang-Chi’s version of the team had fan favorites like Spider-Man, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Moon Knight, and the Punisher. It will be great to see this team in the MCU.
10. Shang-Chi can be a leading player in reestablishing the Avengers
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes disbanded towards the end of Avengers: Endgame after the sacrifice of Tony Stark. But obviously, the Avengers won’t be gone forever. Another big threat will come along at some point in time and the team has to assemble again to fight it. Since Shang-Chi is being introduced as a major figure in the post-Endgame MCU continuity, he might end up being the lead player in re-establishing the Avengers when the time comes.