Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues with its second movie release, and here are the biggest spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. After the release of Black Widow and multiple original shows on Disney+, the latest installment in the MCU introduces Simu Liu as one of Phase 4’s new heroes. He stars as Shang-Chi, also known as the Master of Kung Fu in the comics, in a movie directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has received rave reviews, with its critic score on Rotten Tomatoes standing out in particular.
Shang-Chi‘s story follows the titular hero suddenly returning to a life he left behind several years. It is set after Avengers: Endgame and sees Shang-Chi living a normal life as a valet in San Francisco, California, and hanging out with his best friend, Katy (Awkwafina). His past comes back to haunt him when members of the Ten Rings army attack him to try and steal a pendant from his mother. It is Shang-Chi’s father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), who sends them after him. This leads to Shang-Chi and Katy finding his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), and trying to stop their father from unleashing an evil force known as the Dweller in Darkness.
Now that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is out in theaters, it is time to discuss the biggest spoilers, plot twists, surprises, and MCU revelations it includes. Here are the biggest spoilers for Shang-Chi. SPOILERS to follow.
The very beginning of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings includes the confirmation that Wenwu has been a powerful warlord and criminal for centuries. The opening scene shows him using the Ten Rings to take on another army almost by himself. It isn’t specified exactly when this battle takes place, but Wenwu’s time building the Ten Rings organization is teased from there. The rings around his arms give him eternal life as long as he’s wearing them, and he’s believed to have possessed them for hundreds of years. Later on in Shang-Chi, there is even a reference that Wenwu could’ve been Genghis Khan, the famous conqueror who led the Mongol Empire in the early 11th century. If so, that means Wenwu is more than 800 years old.
Shang-Chi’s life in his solo film primarily follows his journey in a post-Blip world, but Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also fills in important parts of his backstory. His time training under his father and the Ten Rings was expected, but the movie reveals why he eventually defected from the organization. Shang-Chi’s training started after his mother was murdered, and Wenwu spent the next several years killing anyone associated with the gang responsible. But, it was a 14-year-old Shang-Chi who was tasked with killing the man truly responsible, and he left the Ten Rings immediately after, claiming that he couldn’t do it. The surprise that Shang-Chi includes, though, is that he did go through with killing his mom’s murderer.
The trailers for Shang-Chi revealed that Wong (Benedict Wong) and The Incredible Hulk‘s Abomination (Tim Roth) were in the movie and would fight in a cage match. Despite their opposition in the ring, the movie implies that Abomination is actually working with Wong at this point in the MCU. They are shown in the locker room talking, and Wong mentions that Emil Blonsky needs to work on the moves they’ve practiced. Wong managed to knock Abomination out by sending his own fist through a portal to punch himself in the head. That doesn’t appear to have been their plan, though, and Wong opens up a portal to take Abomination away from the tournament. Their destination isn’t confirmed, but a containment cell is visible, and Wong’s line implies that they’ve been working together recently. With Abomination set to return in She-Hulk, perhaps an appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is also possible now.
One of Shang-Chi‘s many surprises sees Ben Kingsley make his return as Trevor Slattery. After originally posing as The Mandarin in Iron Man 3, Marvel Studios used Shang-Chi to resolve his storyline eight years later. His appearance builds off the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King, where Trevor is broken out of prison by the Ten Rings to meet the real Mandarin. While Wenwu rejects the Mandarin title in Shang-Chi, Trevor’s appearance in the movie still pays off this tease. He’s found in one of the Ten Rings’ jail cells, which reveals that Trevor has been acting as a jester of sorts for Wenwu, allowing him to perform various plays all the time.
Shang-Chi is ultimately an MCU movie with a heavy emphasis on family. That is how the movie tied Wenwu and Shang-Chi’s father-son rivalry into the mystical elements of its finale. Wenwu was happily retired from his days of leading the Ten Rings as of 1996, but that all changed the day his wife died. This drove him to pick the Ten Rings back up and reclaim a position of power as he hunted down everyone associated with the traumatic event. The possibility of finding his wife again drives Wenwu throughout Shang-Chi, as the Dweller in Darkness uses the Ten Rings to speak to him using his wife’s voice. It isn’t until after Wenwu destroys the Dark Gate and releases the evil entity upon Ta Lo that he realizes his mistake and accepts his lovely wife isn’t coming back.
Speaking of Ta Lo, the lavish and secret land is the setting of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ finale. Shang-Chi, Katy, Xialing, and Trevor travel there through a secret passageway. Their navigation of the maze allows them to visit Ta Lo early and experience the wonders of this separate dimension. The origins of Ta Lo are not confirmed, but those who live there have been there for over 4,000 years. They are one of several mystical cities and dimensions, with several magical creatures inhabiting it, including the Great Protector. Ta Lo holds the location of the Dark Gate, which prevents the Dweller in Darkness from escaping and attacking again. It also gives Shang-Chi and others increased powers while there thanks to the Great Protector.
A big portion of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ finale sees Wenwu and Shang-Chi battle each other. Shang-Chi originally plans to kill his father to prevent him from hurting more people, but Wenwu gets the upper hand and destroys the Dark Gate to free the Dweller in Darkness. Their fight eventually leads to them battling for control of the Ten Rings, which Shang-Chi quickly masters. Once the soul-sucking dragon escapes, though, Wenwu realizes the mistake that he’s made. He sacrifices himself to the Dweller in Darkness and sends the Ten Rings to Shang-Chi.
Once Shang-Chi gets the Ten Rings for himself, his fight turns to take on the Dweller in Darkness. The creature’s soul-stealing minions already killed many in Ta Lo by this point, and Shang-Chi got some much-needed help against the giant beast once the Great Protector emerged. However, the Dweller in Darkness began to steal the Great Protector’s soul too, which would make it too powerful to defeat. After a perfect shot with a bow and arrow by Katy, Shang-Chi attacks the wounded Dweller in Darkness. It leads to him shooting the Ten Rings into the creature’s chest and using their full strength to kill it. The death of the Dweller in Darkness gives Ta Lo one less threat to worry about, with the Dark Gate also covered.
The end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings welcomes Shang-Chi into the bigger superhero universe in a major way. In the final scene, he is recruited by Wong and taken with Katy to Kamar-Taj to discuss his future and the nature of the Ten Rings. Wong is then shown in the mid-credits scene talking to non-Smart Hulk Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) through holograms. Shang-Chi briefly interacts with the two Avengers, potentially setting the stage for him to join their ranks later on. It also possibly sets the stage for Shang-Chi to return in Doctor Strange 2 alongside Wong.
One of the “legends” referenced in Shang-Chi‘s title is the Ten Rings worn by Wenwu and Shang-Chi throughout the film. The movie doesn’t explore much about where they actually came from, with only a few references to various legends about them, but the mid-credits scene changes that. It is revealed that the Ten Rings are a beacon to an unknown destination or person. Shang-Chi, Wong, Bruce Banner, and Captain Marvel are all in the dark about what the Ten Rings could lead to. This tease is most likely to be paid off in a sequel, with Fin Fang Foom a possible answer to who the beacon could be signaling.
After Marvel Studios brought back the Ten Rings organization for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the film’s post-credits scene reveals that it will be under new leadership moving forward. Xialing heads back to the organization’s headquarters to shut it down as far as Shang-Chi is concerned, but she reinvents it instead. Her biggest change as the leader of the Ten Rings is allowing women to train, which she saw firsthand was not allowed before. Xialing reshaping the Ten Rings will have ripples throughout the MCU’s future, with the tag ending with confirmation that they will return.