Marvel has been forced to delay its entire film slate, with Black Widow moved to this November 6th, 2020, followed by Eternals, moved to February 12th, 2021 and Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings moved to a big summer weekend of May 7th, 2021. A lot is riding on these next three films in the MCU, and not much has been known about their plots, until now.
The Cast of Shang-Chi
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, and we’ve exclusively learned that Awkafina will be playing Fah Lo Suee.
In the comics, Fah Lo Suee has been Shang-Chi’s sister, but in this new updated version of the story, Awkafina will be playing The Mandarin’s daughter, as well as a potential love interest for Shang-Chi.
We also know Tony Chiu-Wai Leung will be playing The Mandarin.
Marvel fans will undoubtedly remember the last version we saw of The Mandarin, portrayed by Sir Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3, but not every fan may remember the character’s return in the Marvel One-Shot: All Hail The King, which was released on Thor: The Dark World‘s home media.
In Iron Man 3 and in that short film, it turned out that The Mandarin was merely an actor named Trevor Slattery. A funny twist for Kingsley to ham it up, but a slap in the face for many comic fans. Marvel clearly learned the error of their ways and retconned this in that short film, by abducting Trevor and informing him that a real Mandarin does in fact exist, and was not happy with Trevor’s fakery. That was the last we knew of the character, but all of that is going to change. The Real Mandarin is ready for revenge.
The Basic Plot
We’ve exclusively learned the basic plot of Shang-Chi. Spoiler Alert for minor plot points below!
Shang-Chi has a special power in this film, and because of it, he was raised in an orphanage for kids that are trained to fight. This special orphanage is run by The Mandarin. Shang-Chi eventually escapes the school/prison and begins living on the run, trying to stay out the Mandarin’s clutches his entire life.
The Mandarin does eventually find the grown-up Shang-Chi again, and offers him a chance. The Mandarin promises Shang-Chi money and power, along with a promise that he’ll finally stop chasing him if he will fight in an epic and magical tournament that every kid in the orphanage has been training for their entire lives. Whoever wins this tournament gets the legendary 10 Rings, which grants even more power, which clearly The Mandarin wants. However, The Mandarin is currently too old to fight so he enlists Shang-Chi.
The tournament will have new characters from all corners of the MCU that include wizards, aliens, fighters, and well known comic book characters which we don’t want to spoil. Imagine a Marvel-infused Mortal Kombat movie!
In this film, Shang-Chi’s special power is the ability to clone himself while fighting. This is a slightly different approach to a power he had in his more recent comics run.
While in the comics Shang-Chi can create clones of himself to do anything, in this film, Shang-Chi only projects versions of himself during fight sequences. This gives the character something special to do, but also gives the filmmakers a way to Marvel-ize fight sequences. When we asked our sources on this story, if the film has more The Raid level hand to hand sequences, or more stylized magical fighting sequences over-using this cloning effect, they informed us it has both.
One cool thing that we won’t get too much into, is that the film clearly knows that Mandarin fans are still upset and confused over Iron Man 3. Without spoiling it, they do address this issue at one point.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is being directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who directed Captain Marvel‘s Brie Larson in Short Term 12 and Black Panther‘s Michael B. Jordan in Just Mercy. The script is penned by Dave Callaham, who wrote The Expendables, Godzilla (2014), Jean-Claude Van Johnson, Zombieland: Double Tap and Wonder Woman 1984.
The film was shooting, and has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak shutting all productions down. Director Destin Daniel Cretton took to Instagram to share the first official photo of the cast on-set.
It’s also worth noticing that the production documents we’ve seen in casting the film make a big point to reveal the following:
“To do something as potentially monumental, as was accomplished in Marvel’s first viable Best Picture candidate. Black Panther. That film tied into African and African American cultures and the sensibilities of its nearly all-black cast, with a black director in Ryan Cooler and writer in Joe Robert Cole. The goal here is to do a similar thing: introduce a new hero who blends Asian and Asian American themes, created by Asian and Asian American filmmakers.”
Implying that Marvel is hoping they have another critical and box-office hit on their hands, just like Black Panther, especially since it intended to release Shang-Chi in February, just as they did Black Panther. Will this new May 2021 release date offer more competition? Does this magical martial arts tournament excite you? Please share your thoughts below!