Shang-Chi and The Legend Of Ten Rings was the second theatrical entry in MCU’s Phase 4. Since the COVID outbreak, the cinema industry has been in a slump. But the response that Shang-Chi got was so great that many movies have even preponed their release date. The movie finally introduced us to the OG Ten Rings and their master, Xu Wenwu. As pointed out by him, in his long life of 1000 years, he has been called by many names. According to the source material, he was called the ‘Mandarin’. However, according to Wenwu, names are sacred and should remain original.
The Mandarin and the Ten Rings organization has been around in the MCU since 2008. They have appeared on several occasions throughout the 13-year run. Mandarin was even supposed to be the big-bad of Iron Man 3 but as it turned out, the infamous Mandarin was just a struggling actor, Trevor Slattery. He was hired by Aldrich Killian as a face for all the criminal activities he did. However, Shang-Chi and The Legend Of Ten Rings revealed the REAL Mandarin and his Ten Rings. Wenwu, however, liked his real name better.
XU WENWU: A BRIEF HISTORY
Tony Leung’s Wenwu came across the Rings in a tomb or crater a thousand years ago. The Rings gave him eternal life and powers. However, rather than helping people, he used his powers to topple empires. He traveled across all of Asia for money and power and hidden treasures. The movie gave a glimpse as to how Wenwu used to eliminate an entire army within minutes.
Wenwu even created his own army, the Ten Rings, and trained them in martial arts. The Ten Rings changed the course of history, performed various execution over the years, all while remaining in the shadows. His criminal empire grew to be one of the strongest forces on the planet. He was now more than a person who came across a universal weapon; he was a God to his followers. Wenwu was a complex character. His tragedies made him more humane and relatable. He was a 1000-year-old warrior who thinks his wife, Ying Li, is still alive and brings back his children together to help him in doing so.
Shang-Chi, Katy, Xialing and Wenwu sit at a single table for dinner, while Wenwu explains to Katy who he is. He tells her how the world has called him different names throughout history. Some notable names were “The Warrior King”, “Master Khan” and “The Most Dangerous Man On Earth.” He even acknowledges the fake name taken by Aldrich Killian as he used the Ten Rings as a forefront for his illegal extremist experiments. Although, he likes his name best as a name given by parents is the sacred one and one should respect that. He asks Katy her Chinese name and asks her to use it more.
THE NAMES EXPLAINED
The name of ‘The Warrior King’ just makes sense, considering Wenwu’s past as an Asian warlord. He had an army of trained martial artists who knew every possible way to kill a human. Although, even without them, Wenwu was more than capable of wiping off entire armies on his own. His leadership skills paired with his fighting capabilities made him ‘The Most Dangerous Man On Earth’. His army respected him and was ready to kill anyone on Wenwu’s command. Ying Li tells how this army changed the entire course of history from the shadows. The name of ‘Master Khan’ is directly derived from the comics as Master Khan was one of many characters who took up the title of Mandarin.
Wenwu reveals his hatred for his comic name, the Mandarin. He hates the fact that a dangerous warlord like himself compared was to a ‘chicken dish’. He even comments that how the entire nation of the United States was afraid of a man whose name means the same as an orange. However, Wenwu’s monologue implies that the title of Mandarin was used by Aldrich Killian and no one before him. However, a short documentary, All Hail The King, by Jackson Noriss reveals that Mandarin is an ancient name for a warlord. So Wenwu doesn’t include Mandarin in his list of names because he hates that name?
Wenwu may have been given a lot of names but the best one was still ‘Dad’. Shang-Chi and Xialing hated Wenwu because of his actions after their mother’s death. But by the end of the movie, they forgave him for his actions and bid him farewell. Shang-Chi was a good character, no doubt, but Tony Leung’s portrayal of Wenwu stole the show. It is heartbreaking for fans that they won’t be able to see him reprising this role again.
Which was your favorite among all names Wenwu got? Do let us know in the comments.