It’s been thirteen years in the making, but we’re finally set to meet the Mandarin in all of his glory when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres exclusively in theaters on September 3rd. During that time, the nefarious organization have made their presence felt in the Iron Man franchise, but there was never any real payoff.
Tony Stark was captured and held hostage by the Ten Rings before he escaped, and Aldrich Killian’s Advanced Idea Mechanics stole their iconography to position washed-up actor Trevor Slattery as his proxy in Iron Man 3. That particular twist proved divisive, but it was retconned in One-Shot All Hail the King when it was revealed the Mandarin was very real, and not best pleased about his identity being stolen.
Shang-Chi is almost obligated to draw a line under that open-ended storyline with Tony Leung’s Wenwu the father of Simu Liu’s title hero, who looks set to follow the standard ’embracing the destiny he turned his back on’ trope, and in a new interview director Destin Daniel Cretton teased how his upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster connects to the franchise’s very first installment.
“I mean, that’s going to be the fun of watching this movie, understanding who the Ten Rings are finally and seeing how they are. I don’t want to say too much before people watch it, but it was really fun to dig into the Ten Rings and answer a lot of questions that were posed early on, before we were ever even imagining we’d be a part of telling the MCU story.
But it has been very satisfying to paint a full picture of who the Ten Rings are, and specifically who they are to the father of Shang-Chi, our Wenwu character. And I think you’ll find in this movie that the Ten Rings, there’s a lot of meaning behind the Ten Rings, both the physical Ten Rings and the organization of the Ten Rings and how they affect our two leads. That is a huge part of this movie.”
Whether it’s wink, nod, reference, Easter Egg or entire subplot, fans have been waiting thirteen years to find out exactly who the shady group are and why they decided to kidnap America’s favorite genius billionaire playboy philanthropist in the summer of 2008 when their leader was revealed later on down the line to be a Chinese criminal all along, and hopefully Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings offers a satisfying conclusion that enhances the MCU as a whole while propelling its own narrative forward.