WARNING - This article contains spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Avengers: Endgame did a number on the MCU.
The first snap wiped out half of the entire universe, and then Hulk put them right back into a broken world five years later. It’s a lot for everyone living in that world to handle, whether they survived the first decimation or recently returned.
The impact of that event has been felt in projects like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, with connections having already been talked about in future projects such as Eternals and Hawkeye.
Black Widow took place before Avengers: Infinity War, so the ambitious cross-over's consequences weren't expected to play a role in those events. With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings having just been released, those who have seen it can attest to the fact that the film barely addresses the fallout of Thanos and Hulk’s respective snaps.
It felt a little strange to not know if this new rising Avenger was a victim of the snap, or if he lived through a blipped world. The same goes for Wenwu, and what happened to his organization throughout the whole ordeal. With such an easy answer, why omit it?
Shang-Chi Kept Its Avengers: Endgame References Low-Key
In an exclusive interview, The Direct spoke with Shang-Chi and Marvel Studios producer Jonathan Schwartz about why the film limited its references to Endgame's Blip, and how it affected this new group of characters.
According to Schwartz, they “wanted to orient the audiences” around the fact that the film is after Avengers: Endgame, but keep their focus on the “story that was unfolding before them:”
“I think the idea was that we wanted to orient the audiences so that people know the movie is taking place after Endgame, but we also don’t want to dwell on the events of Endgame too much. There’s so much story to tell with Shang-Chi, there’s so much to get the audiences into that’s unique to this movie, that we wanted to keep people’s heads in the story that was unfolding before them, and not then how it related to stories that have already been told.”
Did Shang-Chi Get Blipped During Avengers: Endgame?
Schwartz’s reasoning is sound. The film had an incredible amount of story that couldn't simply unfold, as fans needed to grow accustomed to Shang's world. Director Daniel Destin Cretton had a lot of work to do in getting the audience interested, and spending too much time on the blip would have been a distraction.
It still would have been nice to know if Shang-Chi lived through those five years or not. After all, his father let him live his life for ten years after fleeing. Were half those years spent in a devastated world? If he was blipped, did he technically only have five years to live on his own?
Then there’s Wenwu, who runs one of the largest crime organizations in the world. Surely the power vacuum that occurred in that instance played a big role in their operations––assuming Wenwu was there. An entirely different set of questions emerges if the real Mandarin was a victim of the snap.
Also, anyone who was thrown into that shattered world after having suddenly vanished for five years would have some emotional trauma. To not have it all be addressed is strange, to say the least.
In the long run, despite the film still being all about Shang-Chi, it would likely have been better for them to have referenced their state of mind when it came to their respective fates.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now showing, exclusively in theaters.