Even while the MCU is officially back in action with its first Disney+ show, the team behind the most successful franchise in movie history is far from done making waves.
2021 is set to be the most jam-packed year for the MCU since it began nearly thirteen years ago. It brings six Disney+ series and four movies releasing in theaters. These movies will include the long-awaited prequel in Black Widow, one of the biggest MCU sequels to date in the untitled Spider-Man 3, and two origin movies in Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
In the case of Shang-Chi, he comes in as a hero that has flown under the radar for most MCU fans but will introduce an entirely new kind of story to the MCU's overall narrative. According to the movie's star, Marvel's master of martial arts will fly similarly under the radar in this movie as he has in the comics.
A SMALLER MCU STORY ON THE WAY?
In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, new MCU star Simu Liu teased some surprises coming in his first solo movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. While speaking on the film in a self-recorded video, Liu laid out this hint for the MCU's 2021 summer release:
"It's going to surprise a lot of people in how small and intimate it can feel."
THE MCU GETS INTIMATE
Especially over the last few years, Marvel Studios has been known for some of the biggest movies in the business. This includes solo movies like Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther, which both led up to two of Marvel's biggest releases in history with the duo of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Now that there is no set timeframe for Avengers 5, it only makes sense for Marvel Studios to take a step back and tell some smaller-scale stories, particularly helping to wind down from the end of Phase 3. It also seems to fit especially well for Simu Liu's introduction to the MCU, which will bring Shang-Chi to the big screen for the first time.
Rumors have already pointed to the plot of this movie taking place during the five-year time gap in Avengers: Endgame, which should also lend itself to feeling smaller with half of humanity wiped out. As the young Shang-Chi finds his way in the world as a superhero, the film should bring a unique feel to Phase 4 without a potentially universe-ending threat to have to worry about.
Considering the projects surrounding this one, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be a rare true solo movie with no other heroes teaming up with Shang-Chi, either from his own mythology or the larger MCU. Thankfully, his powers include the ability to make clones of himself as he fights, meaning he should make for quite a force all on his own.
This intimate story will reveal itself in full when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres in theaters on July 9, 2021.