The Ten Rings terrorist organization has long loomed over the MCU from the shadows. First introduced in 2008's Iron Man when one of their cells captured Tony Stark at the behest of Obadiah Stane, the group went onto receive references in Iron Man 2 and Ant-Man.
And now, in Marvel Studios' upcoming MCU martial arts blockbuster film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the ruthless group of criminals is set to be fully explored.
At the head of the Ten Rings is the mysterious and powerful Mandarin. This is the same Mandarin that drunken actor Trevor Slattery impersonated whilst in the employ of Aldrich Killian back in Iron Man 3.
As fans saw in the Marvel Studios' One-Shot All Hail the King, the real Mandarin, who is confirmed to be a major player in Shang-Chi, was none too pleased about Slattery and Killian trying to use his name and likeness for their own purposes.
Played by notable Chinese actor Tony Leung, the Mandarin, or Wenwu as he has been called in the film's marketing, seems ready to emerge from the shadows.
THE POWER OF THE TEN RINGS
A new merchandise preview put out by Marvel unveiled a wide assortment of new products related to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Among those reveals were two Hasbro-made role-play items that are meant to represent Wenwu's Ten Rings that are worn around his forearms and the superpowers they hold:
The blaster shoots foam rings from a vent on the front. Could this be implying that the Rings in the film can fire energy projectiles? What's more is that the design resembles Wakandan vibranium tech. Is there be a connection here to the African nation?
This figure shows Wenwu with a large amount of energy engulfing both of his arms. One has to wonder, based on these toys, just how powerful the rings are.
WENWU SEEMS LIKE A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
The Mandarin is Shang-Chi's father in the MCU, a franchise that has had a track record of presenting heroes' fathers as big-time villains or, at least, morally questionable figures.
It seems likely that the final foe Shang-Chi will have to face within his upcoming solo film will be his dear old dad. And, it seems like he'll be given a run for his money if these toys give any indication of what the Mandarin can do.
Additionally, perhaps it's not even the Ten Rings that give Wenwu his superpowers. Perhaps he's a magic-user like Stephen Strange and the sorcerers of Kamar-Taj. Or, maybe the rings serve to enhance his innate power.
These merchandise previews have been a recurring event on Marvel's social media presence for the past couple of months and have been very controlled. Marvel doesn't show off any spoilery products in these drops, and fans are really only seeing what Marvel wants them to. So, with that in mind, it seems that they want to draw attention to Wenwu's abilities early on.
These controlled drops haven't stopped select items from leaking before they're ready to be seen, however...
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is slated to hit theaters on September 3, 2021.