As has been abundantly clear ever since the movie’s official title was announced, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to finally pay off one of the franchise’s longest-running subplots by diving deep into the history and machinations of the titular organization.
The Ten Rings made their debut all the way back in the MCU’s very first installment when they captured Tony Stark in Afghanistan, before making a comeback of sorts in Iron Man 3 when Aldrich Killian co-opted their iconography and positioned washed-up, alcoholic, and drug-addicted actor Trevor Slattery as his Mandarin.
The twist proved divisive to put it lightly, but it was retconned in One-Shot All Hail the King, where it was confirmed the real Mandarin existed and wasn’t pleased with poor old Trevor. Just as we revealed several weeks ago, the presence of Ben Kingsley at last night’s world premiere of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings virtually guarantees that he’s set to play at least a small part in the story.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton has been teasing connections to the Iron Man trilogy during the press circuit, and they don’t get much clearer than the Academy Award winning veteran making his return to the fold. Trevor might have been polarizing within the context of the project he appeared, but Kingsley’s double-edged performance was without a doubt one of the third installment’s highlights. It’ll be hilarious to find out how he gets himself involved in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which finds Simu Liu’s title hero embracing his destiny and going up against the real Mandarin, in the form of Tony Leung’s Wenwu.