Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Shang-Chi is the latest hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but is he already an Avenger after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? Marvel Studios assembled its six main heroes together in 2012 to form the first iteration of the Avengers, but the superhero team continued to evolve from there. Many of the mainstays are out of commission after Avengers: Endgame, though, which leaves the door open for newer characters to join. Simu Liu’s Shang-Chi might be an Avenger already after just one appearance.
By the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi has become the master of the Ten Rings. These powerful weapons result in a surprise encounter with Wong (Benedict Wong), who takes Shang-Chi and Katy through a portal to Kamar-Taj. The movie’s mid-credits scene shows the origins of the rings are of interest to Wong and other MCU heroes. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) appear through hologram calls to discuss what they could be. While the scene only offers a tease of what will come in Shang-Chi’s future with the Ten Rings, it already gives him strong connections to members of the Avengers.
It is likely a bit too early to say that Shang-Chi is already a member of the Avengers. Meeting Wong, Bruce, and Carol Danvers is a good step towards joining the team at some point though. He is arguably in a position similar to Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man. Shang-Chi has proven himself as a hero and has now entered into the bigger superhero universe. Now that he’s met one of the original Avengers (Bruce), the team’s possible future leader (Carol), and is familiar with someone close to Doctor Strange, Shang-Chi has several people who could recommend him joining the team in the future.
Shang-Chi’s designation as a current member of the Avengers also is unclear considering the uncertain status of the Avengers team itself. The MCU hasn’t addressed if the superhero team is still active after Avengers: Endgame or who is leading it. Without knowing that information, it is impossible to say with certainty if Shang-Chi is on the team or if any of these characters have the authority to make him a proper Avenger. However, every hero at the final Avengers: Endgame battle could be considered an Avenger after Captain America’s assemble cry, so Wong, Bruce, and Carol could make that call, theoretically.
It would be quite a surprise if Shang-Chi isn’t an Avenger in the near future. He’s the first new hero in Phase 4 to lead a solo project and the response to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been fantastic. Since Shang-Chi is also arguably among the more powerful heroes thanks to the Ten Rings, he’d be a worthwhile addition to the Avengers. Marvel Studios hasn’t announced when the next version of the Avengers will assemble, but it will happen before too long. When it does, fans should expect to see Shang-Chi on the team, even if he isn’t officially part of it by the time Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ends.