In Marvel’s upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the logo for the Ten Rings organization has changed from its original depiction in the MCU. The Ten Rings first appeared in Iron Man back in 2008, when the terrorist group kidnapped Tony Stark in an attempt to force him to build a highly destructive weapon. In Shang-Chi, the titular character is forced to confront his connection to the Ten Rings, which is led by his father, the Mandarin.
The Ten Rings has gone through some transformation since the organization’s introduction to the MCU. Featuring across the Iron Man trilogy, in Iron Man 3 the iconography of the Ten Rings was co-opted by villain Aldrich Killian to cover up the failings of his own devious technology, Extremis. Killian even hired Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) to pose as the Mandarin and claim responsibility for the chaos he caused. Stark, however, uncovered Slattery’s true identity and Killian’s set-up as a false version of the Ten Rings. In Shang-Chi, the Ten Rings will have their original place in the MCU as a mysterious terrorist organization restored.
As reported by Variety, in Shang-Chi, the group’s original logo used in the Iron Man films has been revised. In the upcoming Phase 4 project, a new black and white version of the logo swaps out the formerly used Mongolian script for 10 Chinese characters that all connote strength and power. Iron Man lead graphic designer, Dianne Chadwick, designed the original logo with two crossed swords surrounded by 10 circles, each featuring ancient Mongolian tribes written in a traditional vertical script. But after the 2013 release of Iron Man 3, the Mongolian government sent an official letter of complaint to Marvel chief Kevin Feige, saying that the film’s use of Mongolian script was offensive and tied the country’s cultural heritage to a terrorist group. Chadwick told Variety:
“Of course we tried very hard not to offend anyone; we are creating for a worldwide audience … Putting Mongolian script in Afghanistan was a way to signal, ‘Oh wait, hang on — there’s something larger and unusual going on. This is beyond just a terrorist group in the Middle East …. We could’ve just said ‘black,’ ‘white,’ ‘purple’ [as the names of the tribes] and I’m sure many people would’ve never been the wiser, but we were really trying to put a lot of thought into it and add some history.”
While Mongolia’s then minister of culture, sports and tourism, Oyungerel Tsedevdamba (who wrote the original complaint) has since said that she regrets her comments to Marvel and now believes the Mongolian script was a “brilliant choice,” the decision to revise the Ten Rings logo may not be entirely due to concerns voiced by the Mongolian government. According to Variety, the new script in the film’s iconic symbol may be fuelled by a desire to allow a smoother entry for Shang-Chi into the Chinese market, in which Marvel films are hugely popular.
Regardless of the reasoning behind switching the script in the Ten Rings logo from Mongolian to Chinese characters, the updated icon is more accurately representative of the upcoming film’s version of the hero Shang-Chi. What’s more, it also reminds audiences of the comic-book origins of the Ten Rings organization, marking a more faithful adaptation of the group in the MCU. Whether the switch will be mentioned or play any significant role in the film will remain unknown until Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premieres in theaters on September 3.