You could point to the success of WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier as the start of Marvel’s phase four; the franchise wide turning of the page after clearing the decks of most of its major players in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But with today’s release of the poster and teaser trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it really feels like we’re seeing what the MCU is going to look like going forward. After all, the two Disney+ series, while entertaining, were more or less about dealing with the fallout of those two blockbusters while exploring the ongoing grief of the characters. Along with the upcoming Loki, they comprise an extended epilogue of the story so far, while setting up a few players in new or more central roles.
This, on the other hand, feels new:
It would be a bit facile to look at this as the Asian Black Panther, but at the same time, it represents a seismic shift in how we cast superheroes and who gets to bear that description. On the surface, this looks like a fairly slick western version of a classic martial arts movie, but one look at that poster – and more specifically the patented Marvel “look” of a textured rubber suit in red and black – and you can see the company’s got big plans for this one, much in the same manner of Chadwick Boseman’s introduction as T’Challa. And just as Black Panther was a chance to broaden the aesthetic and themes of a superhero movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings represents an opening up of the Marvel cinematic universe. Because trust: none of this exists in a stand-alone story or universe. We can practically guarantee that the next trailer will reveal several MCU elements. And we’re even more certain that the film will end with the main character in position to cross paths with several others in the MCU. It’s the Marvel way, after all.
The action scenes look stunning and the cast looks amazing – although we truly hope Awkwafina gets to be more than the comedic sidekick. Also: Simu Liu is going to be a big star and he looks ridiculously cute in that varsity jacket. Sue us, we’re shallow.
Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film also stars Tony Leung as Wenwu, Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s friend Katy and Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, as well as Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu and Ronny Chieng.
“Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and produced by Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz, with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Charles Newirth serving as executive producers. David Callaham & Destin Daniel Cretton & Andrew Lanham wrote the screenplay for the film, which opens in theaters on September 3, 2021.
[Photo Credit: Marvel Studios – Video Credit: Marvel Entertainment via YouTube]