Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to introduce a fresh face into the MCU in the form of Simu Liu's titular Master of Kung Fu, but the film's villain is directly tied to the mega superhero franchise's roots.
After the debut of the Ten Rings organization in the first Iron Man film and after being ridiculed during Iron Man 3, the upcoming Phase 4 entry will finally introduce the real Mandarin, who will be played by Tony Leung.
Marketing for Shang-Chi confirmed that the villainous leader of the Ten Rings organization is the titular character's father, cementing that the film will be a family affair.
Through various promos and trailers, Marvel Studios made it clear that there is an imminent clash between the Mandarin and Shang-Chi in the film. Whether the film will reveal details about the Ten Rings' history with other MCU heroes like Iron Man is still being kept under wraps.
Now, the latest trailer may have shed some light on this subject.
AN IRON MAN EASTER EGG IN SHANG-CHI
The latest trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which heavily featured "Run It" by DJ Snake, Rick Ross, and Rich Brian, included a major Easter egg that ties directly to the Robert Downey Jr.-starring Iron Man.
At the 0:36 mark of the trailer, a shot of a number of screens in front of Tony Leung's Wenwu was showcased, and one of them showed footage of the Ten Rings' hostage footage featuring Tony Stark.
The footage is identical to what was shown during the 2008 MCU blockbuster, featuring the Ten Rings holding Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark captive.
THE TEN RINGS' HIDDEN AGENDA
The recent set of promos for Shang-Chi has been trying to establish the fact that the film is heavily connected to the world of the Avengers, and this new footage is a fitting example of that.
From a marketing standpoint, it makes sense for Marvel Studios to include a shot from 2008's Iron Man considering the iconic hero's massive fan base. It remains to be seen why Tony Leung's Wenwu is looking at the archive footage of Tony Stark's hostage, but it's possible that he is simply trying to review his short triumphs over the years to prove a point to Shang-Chi.
While Stark did escape the Ten Rings' clutches then, the Mandarin could still consider it as a win, since it's not every day that you get to hold one of the world's most famous billionaires captive.
Given that Tony Stark is now dead in the present-day MCU, it will be interesting to find out the Mandarin's reaction to this tragic news. Based on the timeline of events, it seems that a young Shang-Chi was around when the Mandarin ordered the Ten Rings to capture Stark during his origin film, and it's possible that the Master of Kung Fu will reference this event during his reunion with his father.
The Ten Rings organization is one of the mysterious figures lurking within the confines of the MCU, and it's safe to say that their vast history will finally be explored in the Asian superhero film. From distant ancient flashbacks to a full exploration of the Mandarin's powerful weapons, it looks like Shang-Chi will include an in-depth lecture on what the villain has been up to over the years.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will premiere in theaters on September 3, 2021.