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Rumor: Is Shang-Chi's Mandarin Returning For More Marvel Movies?

Tony Leung as Wenwu/The Mandarin in Shang-Chi

Warning: SPOILERS for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings are ahead!

Seven year after we learned in the All Hail the King One-Shot that there really was a Mandarin lurking in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we finally met him earlier this month in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Tony Leung’s performance as the antagonist, a.k.a. Xu Wenwu, has been among the most praised elements of the latest MCU movie, though sadly for fans of the character, he was killed off during the final battle. But is this truly the last we’ve seen of him? If a surfaced rumor is correct, not necessarily.

During the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings overview episode of the They Call Us Bruce podcast, journalist Jeff Yang delivered the following cryptic comment while giving his closing thoughts on the movie:

I would have hoped that given what they had in Tony Leung, they would have made it a little bit more more clear that he has other places to be in the Marvel Universe. That’s all I’m gonna say. I’ll leave it at that.

So from what Jeff Yang has heard, we’ll be seeing more of Tony Leung’s Wenwu in the MCU. Should that indeed be the case, he’s right that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings didn’t make it clear at all he’ll resurface. During the movie’s third act, upon realizing he’d made a huge mistake allowing the Dweller-in-Darkness to escape its confinement in Ta-Lo, Wenwu sacrificed his life to save Shang-Chi’s life from the soul-consuming creature, bequeathing the mystical ten rings to his son in the process. By the end of the movie, there was no indication that he’d miraculously survived or been resurrected; it seemed as though Shang-Chi was a one-and-done affair for the true Mandarin.

Still, this is the MCU we’re talking about; while characters coming back to life doesn’t happen nearly as often as it does in the comics, it’s nonetheless plausible that a future MCU project could resurrect Wenwu, with a hypothetical Shang-Chi 2 obviously being the most logical place for that to happen. However, there is another option to be considered. Because of the ten rings, Wenwu stayed alive for at least a millennium, if not longer so perhaps Tony Leung’s future appearances as the character will take place in the past. For example, the soon-to-be-introduced Eternals have been on Earth for over 7,000 years, so perhaps one of the glimpses into the far past in their upcoming movie will include a Wenwu cameo.

For now, there’s no official word on if we’ll see Tony Leung as Wenwu in the MCU again, but if that changes, we’ll let you know. As far as the overall Shang-Chi corner of this franchise goes, it was made abundantly clear that we’ll be seeing both Simu Liu’s character and the Ten Rings organization again. Where that will be, we can’t say for sure just yet, but given how critically and commercially successful Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been, it’s a reasonable bet that Shang-Chi 2 will be greenlit.

For now, our upcoming Marvel movies guide is available for those of you curious what this superhero franchise is sending to the silver screen, or head to our upcoming Marvel TV shows guide to discover what originals are premiering on Disney+.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.