Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Katy Chen (Awkwafina) is the ultimate heroic sidekick in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — but what does the MCU have in store for her future? As Shang-Chi’s best friend, it seems almost impossible to picture a future for Shang-Chi without Katy in it. Though she might not have superhuman abilities, her driving skills and natural predilection for archery make her just as much of a hero as Shang-Chi.
Katy and Shang-Chi — who went by Shaun at the time — met in high school when Katy stepped between Shaun and a bully with a confusing round of “Hotel California.” After that, the pair became thick as thieves; even as adults, the pair worked together as valets, and Shang-Chi seemed fully integrated with Katy’s family. Katy is an incredibly loyal best friend, which was proven by her following Shang-Chi around the world with no hesitation, and she takes all of the new revelations surrounding her best friend — and reality as she knows it — in relatively great stride. Throughout the film Katy visibly matures, stepping beyond her fear of growing up to become a skilled archer in the battle of Ta Lo.
The ending of Shang-Chi heavily alludes to some kind of future for Katy in the MCU. When Wong arrives in San Francisco to crash their dinner, he summons both of them to have a discussion with Carol Danvers and Bruce Banner regarding the Ten Rings. Throughout the few scenes featuring the other Avengers in Shang-Chi, they all regard Katy and Shang-Chi equally. Katy’s character was created specifically for the MCU, meaning she doesn’t have a comic counterpart to look to for hints regarding her future; however, it seems Katy has been welcomed into the fold just as much as Shang-Chi has. Though it hasn’t been confirmed when Shang-Chi and Katy will appear again in the MCU, all signs point to them returning as a dynamic duo once again.
Some have speculated that there is also a possible romantic storyline between Katy and Shang-Chi. In Shang-Chi, the duo’s relationship is platonic, but there are a few moments throughout the film that hint toward a possible evolution for their relationship. Between Katy’s reaction to seeing Shang-Chi shirtless, her grandmother’s prodding at them getting married, and the sweet moment they shared after the battle at Ta Lo, the groundwork has been laid to explore a romantic relationship in the future. However, there is also great merit in getting to explore a close, platonic friendship between a man and a woman on-screen; something that doesn’t happen very frequently in superhero films.
Shang-Chi star Awkwafina is excited to explore Katy’s future. While she doesn’t know exactly what’s in store for Katy, she does know she wants it to happen with Shang-Chi by her side. “I will say that I would like to see her not without Shang-Chi,” Awkwafina explained in an interview with Digital Spy. “I think that their friendship is really important for each of them individually.” Without a comic storyline to be tied down to, Katy’s future in the MCU is wide open; on top of providing comedic relief she now has training as a Ta Lo archer, and her quick thinking and quick driving have made her an integral part of the team. After Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the MCU is Katy Chen’s oyster.