Everything you need to know before seeing Shang-Chi

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be introducing another hero from the comics to the MCU. The film releases on September 3rd. If you’re unfamiliar with Shang-Chi, this article will give you some background on what you need to know before seeing the film.

Although some elements of Shang-Chi’s history may differ from comics to film, the foundations of his origin remain the same. He’s a master of martial arts and has a deep family history that, in the film, ties him to the Ten Rings organisation.

Marvel's Shang-Chi: Trailer, Poster and First Images Revealed - IGN
Shang-Chi poster (source: Disney)

Powers and Abilities

From a young age, Shang-Chi was trained to become the ultimate warrior. Having been tutored by various martial arts masters, he is a living weapon. Although he prefers to fight hand-to-hand, he is also skilled with weaponry such as swords, staves, nunchaku, and shuriken. He’s known for being composed and in control of his emotions, even under high stress. Chi, also known as internal energy, aids him with keeping his emotions in check. It also benefits him in combat. In the comics, Shang-Chi reached a stalemate in a fight against Iron Fist – which puts their abilities on par. Black Panther even stated that he’s better than Iron Fist, which is praise indeed.

Although he doesn’t possess super-strength like other MCU characters, he can use his chi to temporarily increase his physical strength. His internal energy has also allowed him to do things such as dull his body’s pain receptors, slow bleeding from a wound and even slow the spread of poison in his body.

Shang-Chi vs. Iron Fist (source: Marvel)

History

It’s probable that there will be some differences between Shang-Chi’s origin story in the comics and the MCU. But, what seems to remain the same is that he’s the son of crimelord. Having been raised to do his father’s bidding and ultimately follow in his footsteps, Shang-Chi breaks the cycle. He flees from his father’s control and influence.

In the MCU, we know that Shang-Chi’s father will be the real Mandarin – leader of The Ten Rings. In Iron Man 3 we saw a fake Mandarin in the form of comical, drunken actor Trevor Slattery. Shang-Chi will introduce the real mastermind behind the terrorist organisation.

Shang-Chi also spent time as an Avenger in the comics. He joined shortly after the events of Avengers vs. X-Men and was one of the first members to be drafted by Iron Man and Captain America. Aside from The Avengers, Shang-Chi has also spent some time working as a spy for MI-6. Although it’s unlikely that we’ll see this carried over to the MCU, it could be a future plot point should somebody like Nick Fury become involved.

Throughout his 48 year history in Marvel comics, Shang-Chi has appeared alongside many well-known and beloved characters. Aside from being an Avenger and fighting Iron Fist, he’s worked with Daredevil to bring down Punisher and has even trained Spider-Man in martial arts.

Shang-Chi in the comics-verse (source: Marvel)

In the MCU

We know that this film is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Although, there will be some flashbacks to Shang-Chi’s childhood. The trailer included a cameo from the sorcerer, Wong, as well as Abomination, Hulk’s nemesis. They’re going head-to-head in what looks like a fight club, so we can assume that Wong and Shang-Chi will come face to face at some point in the movie.

The Ten Rings organisation itself was first seen in Iron Man when they took Tony Stark as a hostage. As mentioned before, the organisation was also referenced in Iron Man 3, but this turned out to be a farce orchestrated by Aldrich Killian. In Shang-Chi The Ten Rings will be at the centre of the story. The rings themselves belong to The Mandarin. They’re a set of ten armbands that provide the user with mystical abilities, the extent of which is still unknown. The trailers don’t give too much away about them, but we know that both Shang-Chi and his father will wield the rings in the film.

His origin story remains largely the same. There are a few clips of his vigorous training and upbringing, scenes that show him being turned into the perfect warrior. His relationship with his father is estranged since he rebelled and fled from his destiny. We also see glimpses of his mother, who is rarely featured in the comics. His relationship with her seems to be more integral to his character in the MCU.

The Ten Rings symbol is visible in the background of Tony Stark’s kidnapping (source: Disney)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings releases in cinemas on September 3rd and will be available on Disney+ with premium access 45 days after its theatrical release.

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