As Marvel's first Phase 4 origin story, the film follows the MCU's master of Kung-Fu as he confronts his past, his family, and the real Ten Rings organization supposedly headed by his father, The Mandarin.
Shang-Chi is also Marvel's first martial arts film; and while it looks to deliver incredible action-packed sequences, it also intends to explore the spiritual and the mystical, as its promotional marketing has already revealed.
NEW SHANG-SHI STILLS SHOW THE MANDARIN & MAGIC
New images from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings highlight the film's star-studded cast and a few mystical components of its storytelling.
The first image shows Tony Leung who plays Wenwu a.k.a. the Mandarin along with Fala Chen who plays Jing Li, Shang-Chi's mother.
Fans have seen little of Fala Chen in the film's trailers and usually only with the young version of Shang-Chi. Just how much audiences will see of her in the film, as well as her relationship with Wenwu, is likely to be integral to the story.
In the first image, as well as this one, Wenwu is using the Ten Rings which have seemingly magical elements. There is a shot in the trailer that appears to show another moment from this scene, but with Wenwu seemingly using the rings to battle her.
It's also worth noting that the yellow and green Fala Chen's Jing Li wears could be a connection to the yellow energy produced when Shang-Chi uses the Ten Rings.
This image shows Meng'er Zhang as Xialing, Shang-Chi's sister, as well as Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, and Awkwafina as Shang-Chi's friend Katy.
Here both Xialing and Shang-Chi are in their suits as opposed to street clothes.
This shot of Xialing appears to show her in the same arena where Wong and the Abomination were seen fighting in one of the film's trailers. It also looks like this is the scene where Xialing fights her brother.
In addition, the green necklace she's wearing in this image was also worn by a young version of Shang-Chi in a flashback.
Here Xialing and Katy could be K'un-Lun, a lost city known for its magical properties, where they and Shang-Chi will face the Mandarin.
This particular scene isn't only where the three confront the Mandarin, but it's also where water appears to move in suspension in an early trailer. The circular seal showing what appears to be clouds or smoke glows with yellow light at this moment as well.
Interestingly enough, this very location is where Jing Li is also seen instructing a young Shang-Chi in a flashback.
SHANG-CHI's MAGIC, MARTIAL ARTS, & ORIGINALITY
From what fans have seen of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings marketing, the film is a breath of fresh air in the wake of WandaVision mysteries, multiversal implications, and tales of tenured heroes.
For the first time in a while, Marvel fans are meeting a new leading character in Simu Liu's Shang-Chi who's not only capable in regard to action, but also has a compelling backstory, convictions, and a dash of levity.
In addition, the magical lore of Shang-Chi is different from what fans have seen in the MCU and appears directly integrated into martial arts action.
How Shang-Chi's world and his own story will factor into Marvel's Phase 4 storytelling and beyond will be fascinating to see; but in the meantime, fans can catch the Master of Kung Fu's historic debut on September 3, 2021, when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres exclusively in theaters.