Warning - This article contains major spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently expanding its movie catalog with the franchise's 25th theatrical release: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Simu Liu's titular character has the opportunity to become Marvel's newest hero in a post-Avengers: Endgame adventure that heavily explored Asian culture within the MCU for the first time. The plot found a way to bring back old players like Wong, the Abomination, and even Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery while also advancing the narrative for the franchise's first leading Asian superhero.
As is the case with every MCU outing, fans were on the edge of their seats waiting for the mid and post-credits scenes that set up what's coming in future movies and TV shows. This time, the big reveal was seeing Shang-Chi and Katy being welcomed into a star-studded chat with Benedict Wong's Wong, Brie Larson's Captain Marvel, and Mark Ruffalo's de-Hulkified Bruce Banner discussing the Avengers' next move.
In a recent interview, Shang-Chi's director gave some insight into exactly how these specific Avengers made their way into the movie's mid-credits scene.
Shang-Chi Director on Avengers Cameos
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton spoke with Variety on the development process for the movie's mid-credits scene, specifically on how he chose the Avengers that would appear.
While admitting that the post-credits scenes went "through so many tweaks and updates" based on everything "developed in other shows and movies," Cretton revealed that this story was "dependent on what those characters are doing in the MCU" at the same time.
Considering her MCU tenure, Captain Marvel star Brie Larson was one of his first choices to include in the council at the Sanctum Sanctorum. However, the biggest question about her appearance was exactly how it would work with Carol Danvers currently in an unknown location out in space:
“We talked about it being Brie, but we did not know that it could make plausible sense that Brie could be there. I mean, it obviously helps that we ended up landing on hologram versions of these characters so they can just step away and get back into whatever crazy stuff they’re dealing with. And I’m not even totally aware of what they’re dealing with. All I know is I pitch ideas, and the only time that ideas get kicked back is if it doesn’t make logical sense to other ideas that are percolating for those characters.”
Ruffalo and Larson's scene was one of the last parts of the movie that Cretton shot, during which the director had a "super weird" experience with Larson after their past movies together:
“I hadn’t seen Brie in a long time, so to be able to catch up with her on set, and hang out while she’s wearing a Captain Marvel costume — it was super weird, but we had a good laugh."
When asked about why Mark Ruffalo's long-standing hero looks notably more human than he did in Avengers: Endgame, Cretton utilized the classic Marvel strategy of not revealing any spoilers on the matter.
“I don’t know. Is that telling?”
The director continued that same trend when asked if he was aware of the origins of the Ten Rings, which were also teased in the mid-credits scene. Although he admitted that he knows the answers to these questions "as much as anybody," he remained mum on what those answers actually are:
“Of course I know! I mean, you know, I know enough — I know as much as anybody.”
The Avengers Assembling Again
As of one of the final scenes in Avengers: Endgame, Bruce Banner was still on Earth helping Captain America with his final mission while Captain Marvel appeared to leave the planet searching for more missions in the vast reaches of outer space.
Due to both characters being away from the action in Shang-Chi, it was partly an easy task to include them in the story by having them in a virtual call similar to the one from the beginning of Endgame. This allowed the two heroes to give their input on the investigation into the Ten Rings while also keeping their own whereabouts a mystery and setting them up for future Phase 4 outings.
While Cretton's long-time relationship with Larson specifically led to him wanting to include her in the movie, she's in line for big stories over the next year and more. There's a slim chance she may cameo in Ms. Marvel on Disney+, although it's been confirmed that she and Iman Vellani will team up in The Marvels, which is set to deliver another powerful trio late next year.
As for Ruffalo, it's been confirmed that he will play a role in 2022's She-Hulk. That said, the big surprise came with the fact that he's reverted to human form after conjuring Professor Hulk in his last team-up adventure. This will hopefully be explained more in Tatiana Maslany's debut solo project, although Cretton has learned the Marvel way of keeping his mouth shut with regards to future plans.
Considering how unexpected it was for these two to show up alongside Wong, Shang-Chi, and Katy, Marvel Studios delivered yet another thrilling mid-credits scene that set up the Master of Kung Fu's inclusion as an Avenger. Where those teases lead is still a mystery, but him being part of a trio with Captain Marvel and the Hulk is exciting enough for now.