What You Need to Know About Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

What You Need to Know About Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Image: Entertainment Weekly / Marvel /Disney

After facing numerous delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was finally released internationally, even if most Aussies weren’t able to see it at the theatre when it hit in September. As the MCU heads out of phase three, it’s time for other heroes to shine — and it’s great to see Shang-Chi leading the charge.

If you want to know more about the titular hero and his adventures on 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. But don’t worry, we’ve kept the spoilers out.

Shang-Chi: Australian Release Date

Shang Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings will be available for streaming on Disney+ on November 13, coinciding with Disney+ Day.

To celebrate the second anniversary of the beloved streaming service, Shang-Chi, Jungle Cruise and a number of other films like a SIXTH (!!) Home Alone title – Home Sweet Home Alone will premiere on the platform.

Other programmes include:

  • Olaf Presents – a new series of Frozen-themed shorts
  • Ciao Alberto – a Luca-themed short
  • A new The Simpsons short
  • The first five episodes of The World According To Jeff Goldblum

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings trailers

Here’s the official trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

 

Marvel 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 got 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. You don’t get a real sense of what the movie is about, but there’s enough here to get you very, very keen for the film if you haven’t seen it (and reignite your interest if you have).

After a year of silence, it was great to see Marvel finally showing off Shang-Chi.

So, what’s the story?

Shang-Chi follows the titular superhero and martial artist as he confronts his past and saves his family, his friends and the world. As we all know from the MCU, the moment a hero chooses to find peace is when everything collapses, which is what sets Shang-Chi on his journey.

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.

Shang-Chi’s past and family catch up with him in the movie, bringing on a fate that could change the world forever. It’s a high stakes story that takes Shang-Chi back to his home, reunites him with his sister and pits him against a wide range of dangerous enemies.

The movie explores these intriguing threads as Shang-Chi seeks to defeat the Ten Rings for good.

Where does Shang-Chi fit in the MCU?

ten rings flag
Image: Marvel/Disney

Shang-Chi takes place following the events of Endgame, about eight or so months after in fact. This is about the same time Spider-Man: Far From Home and The Eternals take place. If you want to know where all the MCU movies fit in timeline-wise, we’ve got you.

It has strong ties to the events of Iron Man and the wider power politics of the MCU through the existence of the Ten Rings. Viewers who have seen Iron Man 3 might remember the Mandarin in that movie, who turned out to be quite deceiving.

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 are 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 marvel film production australia
Image: Marvel

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, this movie freshens up his back story and gives him a tale worthy of a hero. His portrayal in the film is very self-contained and doesn’t rely heavily on any other Marvel property. That being said, there are a couple of movies worth watching beforehand.

What to watch before Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings releases

You won’t really need to watch any other Marvel movie to understand Shang-Chi. The story of the movie exists on its own, and although there are mentions of the events of Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man and Iron Man 3, they’re not that important to the plot.

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. Finally, for understanding the state of the current MCU, it’s best to watch Avengers: Endgame. It’s not essential viewing, but it’ll be hard to understand where things are at without it. Then again, Endgame itself requires quite a lot of homework.

iron man 3 mandarin
Sir Ben Kingsley as the False Mandarin (Image: Marvel / Disney)

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 his image abused by Killian and his co-conspirator Trevor Slattery.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings released in Australian cinemas on September 2, 2021. It’ll be available for streaming on Disney+ on November 13.

This post has been updated since it was first published.