Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings pushed the MCU forward by introducing a new superhero in the form of Simu Liu's titular hero while also expanding the franchise's mythology. In the film, a hidden city called Ta Lo was featured - a city that held a Dark Gate housing terrifying creatures led by a dragon called the Dweller-in-Darkness.
Shang-Chi's third act involved an incredible dragon vs. dragon battle between the Dweller-in-Darkness and Ta Lo's Great Protector. This CGI-heavy sequence garnered widely varied reactions from fans, mainly because it is a unique approach to ending an MCU flick.
Weeks after the film's release, more details about the Dweller-in-the-Darkness were released, such as official concept art and the creative team's decision to ignore the Doctor Strange comic source material for the creature.
Shang-Chi Initially Included Terrifying Monsters
Marvel Studios concept artist Jerad S. Marantz shared new unused concept art of creature designs that were scrapped from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Marantz unveiled an impressive first look at a terrifying demon, saying that this creature is designed to "fight the villagers" of Ta Lo:
"Here’s one of my favorite unused creatures for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings . So this was during a bit of a blue sky phase, trying to figure out what the first wave of demons would look like that fight the villagers. A lot of people don’t realize that filmmaking is a very organic process and as we are designing the script is being refined, so the parameters of the assignment could change at any time."
The veteran concept artist said that this particular demon would "fight hand-in-hand with the villagers" while also having the ability to fly and crawl:
"In this pass, I was working on a version that would fight hand-in-hand with the villagers and be able to fly and crawl as well. So much fun! Incredible time working with a team over at Marvel visual development and the head of the team, my buddy Andy Park."
The creature's head design is eerily similar to the Skull Crawlers from Kong: Skull Island, thus offering a menacing look:
The unused creature has an elongated neck and spikes on its shoulder, making it a formidable foe:
Marantz also revealed another spider-like creature that ended up on the cutting room floor. The designer explained the process behind creating this creature:
"I got to do a lot of #creature exploration for the #shangchi demons. I love working this way. I can generate a lot of ideas using this simple technique. I’m really just roughing out the silhouette of a creature and then kicking it over to #procreate to do all the line work. The color work is done with an overlay layer in #photoshop. Great technique for brainstorming. I had an amazing time working on this project with my buddy @andyparkart. Andy headed up the team on this project. Always a pleasure to work with him!"
The spider-like creature has four eyes and spikes all over its head. It is unknown if this demon is intended to fight the villagers as well, but its design indicates that it could very well be acting as foot soldiers for the Dweller-in-Darkness:
Marantz also showcased another demon that is seemingly a hybrid of a bat and a spider:
Lastly, the veteran concept artist shared an unused design of a creature resembling a grim reaper:
Why Marvel Scrapped Shang-Chi's Monsters
It is not unusual for an MCU film to feature unused designs and creatures since the creative team has an overflowing batch of ideas. Jerad Marantz's plethora of scrapped creatures is a solid example of that creative juice.
While it is unknown if these creatures will end up appearing in a future project, it's possible that the studio could be saving them in the already-confirmed Shang-Chi sequel. The film's post-credits scene confirmed that the origin of the Ten Rings will be explored in some form, and this could very well involve new creatures that could threaten Shang-Chi and his allies.
Showcasing these terrifying creatures could prove to be a challenge for Simu Liu's MCU hero, especially if Ta Lo's Great Protector is not present in the battle. If the creatures that are after the Ten Rings end up on Earth, a global invasion is likely or it could solely focus on one of the hidden cities similar to Ta Lo.
If it happens, then Shang-Chi will have his hands full to fight off these creatures, especially considering their terrifying and dangerous iterations. Including these creatures in the sequel allows Shang-Chi 2 to showcase new and exciting sequences that could top its predecessor.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is streaming on Disney+.