Marvel’s timeline might seem a bit complicated to many. Gone are the days where we wouldn’t have to think about the time period of a movie. It was all too simple to follow in the beginning. But then came Phase 3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was set in 2014, Captain Marvel took place in 1995, and then Avengers: Endgame jumped five years into the future to 2023. Spider-Man: Far From Home progressed the timeline to 2024. So things have certainly become quite confusing for many.
Marvel has now panned out its Phase 4, starting with WandaVision. It is set merely a few weeks after Hulk’s snap in Avengers: Endgame. The series premiered in January on Disney+. The second brick in the building was The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The series is set six months after Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes bid a farewell to Steve Rogers. The timeline has now started to shape up a little. But then again, the clarity is temporary. Black Widow is set before Avengers: Infinity War and Eternals is spread over thousands of years. As for Loki, it is taking place in alternate timelines.
Amidst all this, where does Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings fit? Let’s talk about the movie first. It was also no stranger to the hard conditions because of the coronavirus pandemic. The filming for Shang-Chi commenced in February 2020 with plans to shoot in New South Wales, Australia. However, the movie is finally ready to smash through the ceiling. Marvel has released a trailer for the movie. Even though we can figure out a few plot reveals, it will be fair to believe that a lot more will be revealed in the coming months. We can see that Shang-Chi is not willing to join his father, the real Mandarin. But it is nowhere mentioned when the film is set in.
If we look at the trailer, it tells us that the movie is set in a time where everything is fairly nice. This rules out the theory that the movie is set during Te Blip. The world was full of chaos and grief during The Blip, and Marvel has carried out all the efforts to set it. Hence, it can be theorized that Shang-Chi is set either in 2023 or 2024. This comes in the fact that the tone and movement of the world in the trailer are rather upbeat. It would even make sense to set the film in this time frame because it can easily welcome a new hero, as we already lost Iron man, Captain America, and Black Widow in the events of Avengers: Endgame.
Setting the film in 2023 or 2024 will help Marvel in avoiding the most asked question – If Shang-Chi was there during those events, why didn’t he lend a helping hand? They cannot just make him yet another snap victim to explain where he was during a turbulent moment in the MCU. Marvel is definitely better than that. If Shang-Chi is kept clear of such events, then he will get to be the hero of his own story, hence establishing a new superhero altogether. With no Avengers or any catastrophic event to take the spotlight, Shang-Chi can make a place for himself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, if you look to the left of Shang-Chi, you could probably see a symbol involving a crescent moon and a star. This symbol matches the iconography of Madripoor.
Since Madripoor was introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, I’m guessing that Shang-Chi will go to the criminal nation after Sam becomes the new Captain America. It could happen before that, but I’m going with after because the film arrives after the Disney+ series. It will be interesting to see how much of this film actually takes place in Madripoor, and how it clashes with the timeline of Spider-Man: Far From Home & No Way Home.
The trailer begins with telling that Shang-Chi has lived his life independently for the past ten years. Setting the movie after Endgame will allow the movie to travel in different time marks and enrich the MCU history with this character. The movie has the scope for some serious flashback events, highlighting where Shang-Chi was, and what was the real Mandarin doing all this while. Establishing him after the events of Endgame will definitely let the character stay prominent in the future of the MCU.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, with a script from Dave Callaham. Shang-Chi was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin. Simu Liu will play the titular character. The move stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy, Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as fellow MCU newcomers Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Ronny Chieng.