The following contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is finally here, and based on the film's record breaking box office, it's a movie a lot of people were excited about. This is the first new hero to be added to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a couple of years, and between the events of the film itself and the two big scenes that happened after the credits began to roll, it's clear that a lot is on the way in the MCU that will likely make Shang-Chi a very important installment in the new phase of stories.
While Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is certainly a great movie in its own right, one of the most fun parts of any MCU movie is the way it makes us wonder about what is to come. There are several questions we're asking after having seen the new film. Some are just questions about Shang-Chi that have us curious and probably don't have far reaching implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but others almost certainly do.
Why Is Wong Fighting In An Underground Club?
The first time that our new hero, Simu Liu's Shang-Chi, crosses paths directly with the existing MCU is when he arrives in an underground fight club in Macau. He inadvertently finds himself fighting in the main arena, but before he does, we witness two characters we've seen before, The Incredible Hulk's Abomination and Doctor Strange's friend Wong, fighting each other. It would be one thing if they were being forced to compete, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
So what's going on here? Is this something Wong just does to make some extra cash on the side? In Avengers: Infinity War, we saw Wong he couldn't afford a sandwich, so maybe this was the solution. Or is he working on something? Is Wong's willingness to do this part of some larger scheme that we'll be clued into in some future movie? Is this where Wong was going in the trailer to Spider-Man: No Way Home? If so, maybe we'll get answers there.
What's Up with Abomination And Wong?
Potentially connected to the above question, but worthy of a separate discussion, is the relationship between Wong and Emil Blonsky, a.k.a. Abomination. We haven't seen this big green monster since he was defeated by the other big green monster of the MCU... you know, Hulk. When we first see him in Shang-Chi. Abomination's also trying to smash his opponent, but after the fight, we see a very different relationship between the combatants.
Wong and Abomination appear to perhaps be working together on whatever they might be doing in Macau. At the very least, the two go off together through Wong's portal. This raises a lot of questions. How long have these two been doing this? Do they meet up every Saturday night in Macau to beat the hell out of each other for fun? How did these two even meet? What does this mean for the future of Abomination?
How Does Morris Speak, And How Does Trevor Understand Him?
One connection we fully expected to see in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Tern Rings was with Iron Man 3. That film also included the Ten Rings, though it turned out that the man claiming to be the leader of them was actually an actor who was only pretending to be the guy in charge. Fans wondered how the new film would address all this, and eventually it did.
Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery ended up being a pretty significant part of the new film, as did his little sidekick, a creature that came from the land of Shang-Chi's mother. Slattery calls the walking fuzzball Morris, and the creature is able to speak despite having no discernible mouth. Yet somehow, Trevor is able to understand him, despite the fact that nobody else can. It's not clear why this is. It certainly makes for a funny relationship, which may be the only real reason this was done, but is there any more to it?
How Did Katy Get So Good At Archery?
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings introduces us to countless new characters with varying degrees of power. Even without the mystical artifacts of the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi and his family have been trained from a young age to make them proficient in the martial arts. The home of Shang-Chi's mother is full of magical and dark creatures, and their presence allows for the formation of objects of great power.
But Awkwafina's Katy is perfectly normal and is somehow an expert archer from her first shot. The woman isn't without skills, as she's an excellent driver, which translates to her being able to handle a runaway bus when the need arises. But the archery skills seem to come from nowhere, and went far beyond simply being able to hit a bullseye. Is this just a natural skill that Katy had that she had simply never tried to use before, or is there something else going on here?
Why, And How, Is Bruce Looking Human Again?
From here, we jump into the mid/post-credits scenes, which all by themselves ask several important questions. In the mid-credits scene, we see Shang-Chi and Katy standing with Wong, along with holographic projections of Brie Larson's Carol Danvers and Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner, with all of them considering the Ten Rings and what they are. Seeing these Avengers again is awesome, but there's one huge question raised when we see Bruce Banner, because he looks like Bruce Banner.
When last we saw Hulk in Avengers: Endgame, he had combined the strength of Hulk with the brains of Bruce Banner, and his shift into Hulk form was seemingly permanently. Even after the battle, he was still Hulk, and while he had sustained a significant physical injury after using the Infinity Stones, and we see that Banner still has an arm in a sling here, there's no indication of any change forthcoming. So did Bruce choose to become fully human again? Or did something happen that forced the change? That's not the topic at hand, so we don't get that answer yet.
Where Was Captain Marvel Going?
Alongside Bruce Banner in Shang-Chi's mid-credits scene is Carol Danvers. She's there, apparently to lend her expertise regarding all things alien, and she doesn't recognize the Ten Rings as any tech she's seen before. But before things can get much further, she's called away in a hurry. It sets up a solid joke for Mark Ruffalo, who apparently doesn't have her number, but is that the only reason the scene ends that way for Captain Marvel?
While it's possible that where Carol Danvers had to run off to is not specifically important since we know we'll be seeing her again before too long in The Marvels, one has to wonder if this moment in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a specific reference to whatever will be happening in that movie. Will the events of The Marvels be following immediately after Shang-Chi? Just how connected will this new Phase of the MCU be?
What Are The Ten Rings And Who Are They Calling?
The mystery of what exactly the Ten Rings are permeates all of the movie. While we're given one potential way that they were discovered, it's presented only as a legend, and even if it's true, it doesn't explain the ultimate origin of the objects. It does appear that the rings are extraterrestrial in origin, however, as they are acting as a beacon, though for who, or for what, we do not know.
Based on the way this mystery is presented, with a pair of Avengers part of the conversation, the implication is that the answer is important not only to the future of Shang-Chi and this corner of the MCU, but to the franchise as a whole. While we know that dealing with the multiverse is going to be a major part of larger story going forward, that may not be the only threat that Earth's Mightiest Heroes will be dealing with.
What's Next For The Ten Rings?
Finally, in the post-credits scene, we see that Shang-Chi's sister, Xialing, has returned home, and rather than disbanding the Ten Rings organization, she's apparently co-opted them, taking over as their new leader. And at the very end of the movie, we're told that the Ten Rings will return. Not that Shang-Chi will return and potentially bring the Ten Rings with him, but specifically that the group will be back. So what does that mean?
Could the Ten Rings get spun off into their own movie? Or perhaps, more likely, could they get their own Disney+ series? If so, what does the future hold in store for them? It's unclear from the final scene just what Xialing's intentions are with the group. Will they be put to different use than their father's quest for power or will Xialing start her own quest that will need to be stopped?
There are many questions after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, to be sure, but finding the answers is always a lot of the fun in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If there's a downside, it's that with the movies and series that we know we'll be seeing in the next couple of years, it could be some time before we get any answers to some of the biggest questions.
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