The Infinity Saga only just wrapped up two years ago, with Avengers: Endgame being the conclusion to the decade-long story about the Infinity Gauntlet and the stones that go with it.
Going into the next phase of Marvel's slate, the studios are trying to put focus on new things; laying a brand-new foundation to build upon. So far, the world has had three complete television shows, Phase 4's first film Black Widow, and the ongoing animated adventures of What If...? Next up is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is soon to release globally in cinemas worldwide.
The film focuses on the titular weapons of the Ten Rings, which can be seen wielded by Tony Leung's Wenwu throughout the film's trailers. However, the versions that fans see in the film are nothing like their comic counterparts, which are literal rings on the user's fingers.
Each ring has a different power to be used, something which sounds a lot like the Infinity Stones that Thanos successfully used to wipe out half the world. Was this similarity accounted for when factoring in how to adapt the rings into live-action?
THE INFINITY GAUNTLET DILEMMA
The Direct got to sit down with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' producer Jonathan Schwartz, where the similarity between the Infinity Stones and the Ten Rings in the comics came up.
According to Schwartz, the changes to the Ten Rings may have "been a little bit" because of the similarities to Thanos' weapon of choice, but were also due to the team also thinking the "finger rings were going to look a little goofy."
“You know, it may have been a little bit of that, but I think it may just be, there was a little bit of, we sort of felt like the finger rings were going to look a little goofy in practice. And a little bit of leaning into the genre elements. How do we make that come together?"
So where did the inspiration for their final on-screen renditions on come from? Schwartz recalls watching a film called The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, where one of the weapons used in a key montage was "these Hun Gar Iron Rings."
This came to be what the Ten Rings look like today, a decision that the producer affirms "was 100% [the] right [call]:"
"And so, one day we were watching a movie in the writer’s room, me, Destin, and Dave, called The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, which starts with a kung fu training montage, using many weapons, one of which had these Hung Gar Iron Rings, which are a traditional Kung Fu weapon. You may remember them from Kung Fu Hustle, where they’re very prominent. Destin looked at those rings and said ‘we should just do that for the Rings.’ And he was 100% right, and it was unique and so cool, it just felt like sort of the right thing to snap the movie into focus."
FROM RINGS TO IRON RINGS
When comparing Marvel's adaptation of the Ten Rings to The 36th Chamber of Shaolin's Hun Gar Iron Rings, the inspiration is clear. In making a more logical adaption of the classic comics weapon, they ended up reinforcing the film's martial arts roots.
The way the comics incarnation of The Mandarin wielding the ten rings looks very much like the Infinity Stones in practice. Whether or not they'd look silly in live-action is up for debate, but at the end of the day, Marvel Studios made the right choice. The similarity is uncanny, so separating the two was smart.
What fans will be getting in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings when the film releases on September 3 will not disappoint.