There’s a particular segment of geek fandom who believe that whenever their particular obsession of choice is adapted to the screen, if it’s not done verbatim, meticulously copying the source beat by beat, then the result is inferior and doomed to fail. I’ve argued against this for ages, but I’m just one little guy. So I’ll allow the 400-tonne behemoth to do the talking: Since its inception, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has played loose and fast with its comic book source material, smooshing together story arcs and characters, or just doing new things entirely. And instead of bringing failure, this has seen the MCU become the most successful film franchise in history.
Now Marvel doesn’t always get it right though. The most infamous example was turning iconic villain The Mandarin into a literal toilet humour gag in Iron Man 3. They’ve made some recompense though, with the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings set to debut the real Mandarin with Tony Leung’s Wenwu. However, once again this is a completely different Mandarin than the one in the comics, who has always been a problematic character due to him being a walking collection of derogatory Asian stereotypes. Speaking of which, Simu Liu’s titular hero Shang-Chi had a similar problem with his father being the horrifically offensive Fu Manchu. So Marvel has done what they did before and now Wenwu aka The Mandarin will be Shang-Chi’s father in the upcoming film, but there’s one major change (besides just removing the racist character designs).
In the comics, The Mandarin gets his power from ten jeweled rings he wears on his fingers. These rings were actually extraterrestrial artifacts, known as the Makluan Power Rings, which he found on a crashed alien spaceship. Each ring was powered by the contained soul of a dead warrior and allowed their wearer to manipulate and control different aspects of reality, including changing atomic structures, generating concussive force beams, manipulating gravity, creating mental illusions, etc. But we just had a gigantic story arc where Marvel heroes faced off against a blinged out villain who could twist reality, so the ten rings have been given a makeover as well… and are now decorative arm bangles!
Ok so that description is a bit silly, but that’s what they looked like in the first teaser for Shang-Chi. However, Marvel has now dropped a brand new trailer and it shows the ten rings being used in full force and they most definitely are not decorative arm bangles!
Firstly, DAMN THE ACTION IS LOOKING GOOD HERE! Secondly, holy crap is that Tim Roth’s Abomination, back in the MCU for the first time since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, fighting Benedict Wong’s Wong from the Doctor Strange movies?! Thirdly, holy crap is that Fin Fang Foom, the giant alien dragon from the comics?! Marvel is really leaning hard into the mythos here, no matter how weird, and I’m there for it.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12, The Glass Castle) and also stars Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Ronny Chieng. It is scheduled for release in theatres on 3 September 2021, and will then hit Disney+ just 45 days later as part of Disney’s new theatrical release strategy.
Last Updated: June 25, 2021