After facing numerous delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, we finally have our first major look at Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the next major blockbuster from Marvel Studios. As the MCU heads out of its Avengers era, it’s time for other heroes to shine — and it’s great to see Shang-Chi leading the charge.
While he’s not a well-known hero in the Marvel Universe, the movie’s first trailer is sure to turn heads.
If you want to know more about the titular hero and when his adventures will hit the big screen, Gizmodo Australia has you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, including what you need to watch before the film.
Shang-Chi: Australian Release Date
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will release in Australian cinemas on September 2, 2021.
Will it release on Disney+ Premier Access?
Unlike Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will have a full theatrical release before being added to Disney+.
The film will be added to Disney+ 45 days after its theatrical debut as part of an “interesting experiment”, CEO Bob Chapek confirmed in a quarterly investors call.
“We will always continue to do what’s best for the film, and what’s best for our constituents,” says Chapek.
Given the fact that it will enjoy a normal theatrical release, we can assume Shang-Chi will be free when it is eventually added to Disney+.
Shang-Chi: Teaser Trailer, First Images
Marvel has dropped the official trailer ahead of the film’s release next month.
Marvel has also released an official teaser for the film, but it’s safe to say it’s just as exciting as most other movie trailers.
In it, we get our first glimpses of Shang-Chi in action as he saves a busload full of people and battles mysterious figures in an underground fight club. We don’t get a real sense of what the movie is about, but there’s enough here to get us very, very keen for the film.
After a year of silence, it’s great to see Marvel finally showing off Shang-Chi.
In addition to the trailers, you can also check out the first images from the movie via Entertainment Weekly.
So, what’s the story?
Shang-Chi will follow the titular superhero and martial artist as he walks away from the life of an assassin to live in America and live a normal life. But as we all know from the MCU, the moment a hero chooses to find peace is when everything collapses.
The first trailer for Shang-Chi shows that the villainous Mandarin is actually Shang-Chi’s father in this version of his story, which is a departure from the source material — but does open up a range of interesting questions.
While the exact plot of the film is yet to be confirmed, a voiceover from the Mandarin in the trailer implies he’s given his son ten years to live his life — and that time is up. Will Shang-Chi finally join his father as head of the Ten Rings? Can you ever really escape your past?
The movie looks set to explore these intriguing threads as Shang-Chi seeks to defeat the Ten Rings for good.
Where does it fit in the MCU?
Shang-Chi will likely take place following the events of Endgame, but there’s no current indication of where in the MCU timeline it’s actually set.
Ether way, it already has very strong ties to the events of Iron Man and the wider power politics of the MCU through the existence of the Ten Rings.
Who are the Ten Rings?
The Ten Rings are a villainous organisation led by the Mandarin. While their intentions vary dependent on source material, the major goal of the Ten Rings is usually to destabilise world peace, sow dissent and claim power on the global stage.
In Iron Man (2008), this led to the group kidnapping Tony Stark and extorting money from the United States government. But beyond this, the real Ten Rings haven’t had much of a chance to shine in the MCU outside of brief cameo appearances and vague references.
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the Ten Rings will be at the centre of all the action as Shang-Chi attempts to escape his fate and carve out his own heroic legacy, away from the influence of the group.
Who is Shang-Chi?
Shang-Chi is a martial arts specialist who was first introduced to the Marvel Comics universe in the 1970s during the peak of popularity for the kung fu film genre. Mainstream stars like Bruce Lee and Ip Man inspired the creation of the character and his martial arts skill base.
While he was originally the son of Fu Manchu, rights issues mean his parentage has been changed a few times since he was introduced. He’s not the son of the Mandarin in the comics (his father is an ancient sorcerer instead), but the change is very intriguing — and it’s certainly a plot ripe with potential.
Outside of his initial popularity, Shang-Chi hasn’t really had much of a look-in over the course of Marvel’s history. He’s briefly worked with Spider-Man, Daredevil and The Avengers, but given he’s not a world-breaker (his primary powers are martial arts and mastery of chi) he’s not typically called on when the world needs saving.
Lately, he’s been given more of a chance to shine with appearances in recent crossovers like Enter the Phoenix, which saw him obtain a shard of the Phoenix Force — but he only tends to pop up occasionally.
Given that Shang-Chi’s origins lie in 1970s-era orientalism, it’s likely the movie will freshen up his back story and give him a tale worthy of a hero. Everything you need to know about him should be explored in the film.
What to watch before Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings releases
As it stands, you won’t really need to watch any other Marvel movie to understand Shang-Chi. No other hero from the franchise has been confirmed for the film and there doesn’t appear to be many overlapping narrative threads.
If you’d like to understand more about The Ten Rings and the strange ways the group has been represented in Marvel movies so far, you will want to check out a few key moments in the MCU.
First, watch the original Iron Man (2008). While the Ten Rings don’t play a massive part in the film, they do make a cameo appearance as Tony Stark’s kidnappers. The group appears again in Iron Man 3 (2013), but this time they’re a false front for villain Aldrich Killian, who used the Mandarin name and Ten Rings imagery to spark fear.
This iteration of The Ten Rings was briefly considered “canon” in the MCU, but the Marvel short film All Hail To The King (2014) rewrote this, and introduced audiences to a Ten Rings agent who said the “real” Mandarin was angry at having been abused by Killian and his co-conspirator Trevor Slattery.
While it’s taken a good seven years for the pay-off to this one-shot story, it’s likely the reveal will play into the wider Shang-Chi story.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to release in Australian cinemas on September 2, 2021.
Stay tuned to Gizmodo Australia for all the latest news on its release and other upcoming Marvel stories.