The first trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was finally released, with fans already picking it apart for Easter eggs and potential plot details. One line from the trailer in particular that stuck out was from Tony Leung's Wenwu, telling Shang-Chi that he “gave [him] ten years to live [his] life,” which has an assortment of implications attached to it.
Not only did Wenwu allow his son to leave the Ten Rings, but that he let him live his own life however he wanted. A parent indulging their child and hoping they grow up or realize their mistake, as he next asks his son “And where did that get you?” One potential connection that this line could have is with Iron Man 3 but depends entirely on when Shang-Chi takes place.
MORE MEANING FOR IRON MAN 3
The line in question could itself be Wenwu's own self-indulgent connection to his organization, the Ten Rings, but it could also be an indirect reference to Iron Man 3. Released in 2013, this controversial threequel took place in December 2012 with Tony Stark (and Pepper Potts) putting down Aldrich Killian, who masqueraded as the Mandarin, on Christmas Day.
It isn't unusual for any film or show in this franchise not to take place in the same year of its release anymore, especially after the time skip that occurred in Avengers: Endgame. For example, both WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier still took place in 2023, so why can't the same be said for Shang-Chi?
What if the events of Iron Man 3 are what propelled Shang-Chi to leave his father and the Ten Rings to live his own life? If that is the case, it's likely that Shang-Chi will take place sometime in 2023. It would also imply that both father and son weren't blipped, like many other characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
However, the short film, All Hail the King, might give fans further evidence of when Shang-Chi takes place.
RETRIBUTION FOR THE FALSE KING
All Hail the King is a short film about Ben Kingsley's Trevor Slattery, now imprisoned and living as an incarcerated diva at Seagate Penitentiary. A documentary filmmaker visits the prison to interview Slattery, only to reveal himself to be working for the Ten Rings and the Mandarin, who's angry at Slattery for taking his name.
It could be that, for whatever reason, in reaction to what happened in Iron Man 3, Shang-Chi became disillusioned enough with his father to leave him. Of course, as said in the trailer, Wenwu allowed this, but that doesn't mean he wasn't still furious that his son would abandon his birthright standing by his side.
Since Killian was dead, Slattery was the only one left that Wenwu could rain down retribution on, as he was the next person to blame for indirectly causing his son to leave behind his former life. It also makes it more likely that Slattery is long dead by the time Shang-Chi begins, as it would hardly make sense for Wenwu to keep Slattery alive for all these years since he was taken from Seagate Penitentiary.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently scheduled to release in theaters on September 3, 2021.