The Original Ten Rings Make Shang-Chi Even More Special

Shang-Chi made his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut last year with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The movie had to make some considerable changes in order to give us the narrative that we witnessed. It was important in order to make the narrative considerate to the modern-day. This has been something that we have seen with a variety of projects from the franchise. But the most interesting change in Shang-Chi was with the depiction of the Ten Rings and there was a rather interesting development here. In Marvel Comics, Shang-Chi actually manages to harness the powers of the original Ten Rings and that makes him an unstoppable fighter.

Shang-Chi And The Legend of The Ten Rings

When MCU adapted the Shang-Chi lore in the movies it had to make some interesting changes. One of the most important changes was regarding the character of Mandarin. It became fairly obvious that a title like that won’t have worked for Shang-Chi’s father in modern days. Shang-Chi’s father was instead given the name Wenwu, as played by Tony Leung. This also helped in correcting the past mistake MCU made with the adaptation of Ten Rings in Iron Man 3.


Original Ten Rings

But another interesting development was done regarding the Ten Rings. According to director Destin Daniel Cretton:

We just knew we didn’t want to keep them on the fingers. The 36th Chamber was one of the big inspirations, [and] also Kung Fu Hustle, another great movie that used those weapons. It was through brainstorming while watching these movies that [it] clicked and made sense.


Screenwriter Dave Callaham that the true inspiration was drawn from Hung Gar master Ciu Chi-ling’s role in the 2004 comedy movie Kung Fu Hustle. It was after looking at the character wielding the Iron Rings that they went for the idea. According to Callaham,

We all looked at [that picture] and said, ‘What about that?’”. I don’t think we had to ask [Marvel head honcho] Kevin [Feige]. The minute it got said out loud, it was so obviously cool and different and set us apart that it was the obvious choice.

Finger jewelry is great, but it’s not specifically Asian. The imagery of iron rings is unmistakably martial arts. Immediately, you know you’re dealing with something more thought-out and more specific.


Power Of The Original Ten Rings

The Marvel Comics interpretations of the Ten Rings are a lot more different than this. According to that, the Ten Rings are worn on each finger and thumb on both hands. This grants the wearer a number of powers that include fire-blasts, ice attacks, and mental manipulation. In the Master of Kung Fu: Battlewrold narrative from Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajić, Shang-Chi manages to master the powers without wearing the rings. The narrative sees Shang-Chi facing the members of the Ten Rings who were shown conjuring the powers that the wielder of the rings must possess.


But Shang-Chi manages to defeat them considering they weren’t masters of the craft. This isn’t the end of his worries as he is now being hunted by Iron Fist and others seeking vengeance from him. The reasoning behind this was that Shang-Chi’s father Emperor Zheng Zue had forced him to kill Iron Fist’s master and the leader of K’un-Lun. In order to face these opponents, Shang-Chi decides to study the way of the Ten Rings in order to face his own father.


Original Ten Rings

Shang-Chi ends up developing some very interesting and cool powers that allow him to do a lot of things. We get to witness him having the ability to project painful memories in his opponent’s heads and also being able to transform his hands into razor-sharp blades. This is not the last of these powers considering he manages to kill his father by using the killing blow. By the end of the narrative, we get to witness him mastering the Ten Rings and becoming unstoppable. He also figures out a completely new power that involves turning his opponent into stone. We get to witness him use this against his father to defeat him for once and all.

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