Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to debut Marvel's first Asian superhero while also properly introducing the MCU's Mandarin. Directed by Daniel Dustin Cretton, the rumors about the 2021 blockbuster are plenty, ranging from Shang-Chi's abilities to a plot revolving around a martial arts tournament. Despite that, the confirmed reports about the film mainly revolve around the predominantly Asian cast while several set photos may have hinted at some of the film's plot points.
Given that the film is within the realm of the MCU, it's clear that the upcoming blockbuster will include notable MCU easter eggs as well as other historical references. Now, a new rumor may shed some light on those callbacks, potentially teasing larger implications moving forward...
In a report from Murphy's Multiverse, insider Charles Murphy revealed that they have uncovered evidence that the film "will be partially set during China’s Song Dynasty and the Turko-Persian Seljuk Dynasty.":
While the biggest rumors surrounding the plot of Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings surround a martial arts tournament taking place in the present day, we’ve found evidence that the film will be partially set during China’s Song Dynasty and the Turko-Persian Seljuk Dynasty both of which shared the interesting fate of being invaded by the Khans of the Mongol Empire.
Moreover, Murphy pointed out that the evidence was connected to a previous casting call last year which indicated that Marvel Studios was looking for a "ruler of a distant ancient kingdom," while also speculating that The Mandarin (Tony Leung) could be a descendant of Genghis Khan (based on Marvel comics):
It’s possible that these connect to a casting call that circulated in 2019 which indicated Marvel Studios was looking for “the ruler of a distant ancient kingdom.” That casting was rumored to be a call for Namor, though given this new information that seems unlikely. For those wondering what might connect Shang-Chi to some ancient dynasties and the Khans, the answer, at least in the comic books is, The Mandarin, himself a descendant of Genghis Khan.
WHAT THIS MEANS
It seems like next year's Legend of the Ten Rings will stay true to Marvel Comics lore. For those unaware, the Mandarin's late parents are described as a wealthy man from pre-revolutionary China and an English noblewoman, with his father being revealed as a descendant of Genghis Khan. In many ways, Legend of the Ten Rings can further expand the backstory of Tony Leung's character while staying true to the comics.
It's clear that this presents an opportunity for Shang-Chi to show the definitive take of the iconic villain. While Iron Man 3's portrayal of the Mandarin garnered mixed reviews from fans and critics, this rumor should prove that Legend of the Ten Rings is trying to shy away from the previous incarnation of the character, strongly suggesting that the film will do him justice.
No doubt, the Mandarin's (proper) introduction is one of the most anticipated debuts in the MCU. All in all, fleshing out the backstory of the iconic villain could address the his whereabouts in past MCU films while also establishing him as a menacing threat not just to Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), but potentially the larger MCU moving forward.