Major spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings lie ahead.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has finally arrived, and it not only brought a new hero to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it also revealed more about a group fans have known for years. I’m, of course, speaking about the Ten Rings organization, which was first introduced in 2008’s Iron Man. However, this time around, viewers learned the history of the group and its true leader, the enigmatic Wenwu (a.k.a. Shang-Chi’s dad). By the end of the film, the ancient group was left in an interesting position, and it could lead to them popping up in some future MCU projects.
During the film’s third act, Wenwu sacrifices himself to save his son, leaving the fate of the Ten Rings immediately clear. The titular hero is later under the impression that his sister, Xialing, is dismantling their father’s operation but, as revealed in the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings post-credits scene, she’s actually taken control of the organization and rebranded it. Whether the former fight club owner has altruistic reasons for doing so is unknown right now but, regardless, her new group could still play a major role down the line. So let’s talk out the Marvel where the group could show up next:
The Don Cheadle-led Armor Wars is one of the many Marvel TV shows that’ll be heading to Disney+ in the near future. Like the comic book story arc it’s based on, the series will explore what happens when Tony Stark’s Iron Man technology falls into the wrong hands. It’s incredibly possible that the Ten Rings could be one of the groups that ends up snagging Stark’s tech, especially considering their reach in this cinematic universe. Narratively, such a development would actually make for a nice bit of irony. In Iron Man, a sect of the Ten Rings captured Stark because they wanted his missile technology, so how wild would it be for the group to actually obtain his armor specs years later?
Riri Williams’ first solo adventure in the MCU would be another prime opportunity for an appearance from the Ten Rings. At this time, a villain has yet to be confirmed for Ironheart, but it’s entirely possible that Williams could come into conflict with a sect of the organization during her adventures. Their presence on the show could definitely make things exciting and, from a narrative perspective, a brawl with the group would make for a perfect demonstration of the armored heroes skills. And of course, given the group’s history with Riri’s predecessor, their appearance in her show would serve as somewhat of a full-circle moment.
Captain America 4
While it hasn’t been officially announced by Marvel Studios yet, Captain America 4 is reportedly moving forward, with Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson in the lead. The former Falcon has had his fair share of run-ins with terrorist groups, so it would be wild to think he wouldn’t find himself facing down members of Xialing’s organization. Then again, he could also face off with a separate branch. Regardless, such a scene could possibly have an energy that matches Wilson’s explosive battle with LAF at the start of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Let’s hope the new Sentinel of Liberty gets to trade punches with the Ten Rings one of these days.
Marvel's What If…? is still airing its first season on Disney+, but the powers that be have already have plans for the future. Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige has confirmed that Season 2 will incorporate elements from Marvel Phase 4 movies and TV shows. So we could very well see a variation of the Ten Rings appear on the show down the line. And given the madcap nature of the animated series, the storytelling possibilities are endless. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Watcher eventually takes viewers to a reality in which Shang-Chi never left his father and the organization behind.
MCU fans will finally meet the Eternals in less than two months and, with that, viewers will get a sense of how the ancient cosmic beings “guided” humanity along over the years. As we learned in Shang-Chi, Wenwu (with the help of the ten rings) lived for thousands of years, conquering new territories as the centuries passed. With this, it’s possible that one or a few of the Eternals could’ve crossed paths with him and his syndicate at some point in the past. It may seem like a long shot, but who’s to say the god-like heroes didn’t witness some of Wenwu’s heinous acts.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania
Some may have forgotten, but the organization actually managed to rear their ugly heads during 2015’s Ant-Man. When Darren Cross met with potential buyers for the Yellowjacket suit, one of the men present happened to be sporting a Ten Rings tattoo on his neck. Ultimately, when the chaos began to ensue, he escaped along with the other buyers. On the surface, this may have just seemed like a simple easter egg, but it could be resolved in Quantumania. While we do know the film will feature a big bad in Kang the Conqueror, it wouldn’t be crazy to think that at least one part of the group is still looking to nab the particles.
At long last, the Daywalker is finally making his way to the MCU, opening up a new corner of the cinematic franchise in the process. Though Blade is sure to face off with bigger supernatural threats in his big-screen return, the Ten Rings could be one of them. Not unlike the shapeshifting Skrulls, Daywalkers (half-vampires) can insert themselves into different levels of society. So it wouldn’t be crazy to think that there couldn’t be a rogue vampire among the Ten Rings’ ranks. Or on the other hand, considering how Blade’s adventures can vary, there’s always the chance that Mahershala Ali’s character comes into conflict with Xialing and her operation in a different way.
A Shang-Chi sequel has not been confirmed at this point but, given its strong performance at the box office, it’s only a matter of time before Marvel Studios puts it in motion. Of the aforementioned movies and TV shows, this movie is where another Ten Rings appearance is most guaranteed. And it’s likely that Shang-Chi isn’t going to be too thrilled when he learns that Xialing is still operating out of their father’s compound. The potential strife between the two siblings would be difficult to watch, especially considering what they just went through. Still, it would make for some great storytelling.
The future of the Ten Rings is bright (and morally ambiguous), and fans should definitely expect to see more of them in some form or fashion moving forward. Keep an eye out for news on a Shang-Chi sequel and, if you can, check out Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theaters now.
Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
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