Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi film is the first MCU movie to be part of both Phase 4 and set after Avengers: Endgame. Spider-Man: Far From Home was more of an epilogue to the Infinity Saga as the last Phase 3 movie. While Black Widow is a Phase 4 film, but it’s set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Is More Than A Standalone MCU Movie

At first, it was believed that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would serve as a stand-alone story that was not part of anything in the MCU before. Though it is still primarily an original film centered around its own characters, the Shang-Chi film is bringing cameos and connections that make it more than a standalone film. With Wong (Benedict Wong) appearing in the film, it might even lead to something that is part of the Doctor Strange sequel.

Ties To Iron Man and Iron Man 3

Shang-Chi brings back the “Ten Rings” from the first Iron Man movie. It also course corrects what Iron Man 3 did to the Mandarin. In Iron Man, Tony Stark was captured by a terrorist group using the name “Ten Rings” while in Iron Man 3 Ben Kingsley’s “Mandarin” unknowingly became the face of the group. Kingsley was actually Trevor Slattery — an actor that was told to play the Mandarin.

“The Ten Rings was always this organization that was looming out there,” Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told “With the twist and Iron Man 3, we always said that didn’t mean there wasn’t a true leader of the Ten Rings. It just meant Trevor Slattery wasn’t it.”

With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a more accurate story of the Ten Rings will be explored in the MCU.

“More importantly, it was about bringing Shang-Chi to the MCU and bringing this character and bringing this new Marvel hero into the pantheon of heroes,” Feige said. “And what sets him apart is that story of family, and is the very complex relationship he has with his father, who was the founder, who led the Ten Rings for many years. So it’s just fun, as always in the connectivity, to have something as new. And you need a Shang-Chi come out and yet have somewhat of its origin’s go back to the very beginning.”

Ties To Past and Future MCU Projects

One of the shocking reveals for fans was the return of Incredible Hulk’s Abomination, who was teased in a trailer for Shang-Chi. The Incredible Hulk seems to be a forgotten Phase 1 film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Recasting is rare or even non-existent in the MCU until Mark Ruffalo replaced Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. That might’ve contributed to fans “forgetting” about that film. Then a confirmation came days after that Abomination is returning not only in Shang-Chi, but in the Disney+ series, She-Hulk, with Tim Roth returning to play the part. In Shang-Chi, we’ll see Abomination go up against Wong (Benedict Wong) in some sort of underground fight club.

“Abomination, a lot of those characters who are just popping into our movie for a little bit are there for a reason and are there for reasons that are yet to be discovered, either through our movie or other movies that are coming out,” Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton said.

Wong making an appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings points to another clue that Shang-Chi is part of a bigger picture.

“Well, we don’t want to spoil anything,” Feige said. “But, I think the end of this film gives a pretty clear direction on, at least, how vital and how important and how directly Shang-Chi is stepping into this world. We are reminded of Nick Fury in the tag of Iron Man 1, telling Tony Stark, ‘You’re part of a bigger universe, you just don’t know it yet.’ And without giving away, a very similar thing happens to Shang at the end of this movie.”

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres this Friday, September 3 in theaters only.


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