Director Destin Daniel Cretton explains how that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings mid-credits moment came about. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opened in theaters to rave reviews from critics and audiences alike and is on its way to break the Labor Day weekend box-office record. As is tradition with the MCU, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings features a mid-credits scene setting up the character’s future in the MCU, and here, the hero got to meet two legendary Avengers.
Before Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Destin Daniel Cretton was known for smaller character-based films. His filmography included 2013’s Short Term 12, 2017’s The Glass Castle, and 2019’s Just Mercy. One thing that all three of these films had in common was they starred Brie Larson, who stars in the MCU as Captain Marvel. Since Shang-Chi was an origin story for the title character and focused on setting his world up, it seemed this streak of Larson and Destin Daniel Cretton collaborations was about to come to an end. However, the collaboration continues, as the mid-credits scene of Shang-Chi featured Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers alongside Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner speaking to Shang-Chi, Katy, and Wong about the Ten Rings.
In an interview with Variety, Cretton explains how the Larson cameo came along and that when the scene was first pitched, it was unclear which Avengers would be debriefing Shang-Chi. Cretton was able to get his wish of working with Larson, thanks to the fact they are communicating through holograms and can go back to their own adventures without needing to be in the same room. Both Larson’s and Ruffalo’s parts were some of the last things shot for the post-credit scenes. Cretton said:
“[Post-credit scenes] go through so many tweaks and updates depending on what’s being developed in other shows and movies in the MCU. It was so dependent on what those characters are doing in the MCU around that time. We talked about it being Brie, but we did not know that it could make plausible sense that Brie could be there. I mean, it obviously helps that we ended up landing on hologram versions of these characters so they can just step away and get back into whatever crazy stuff they’re dealing with. And I’m not even totally aware of what they’re dealing with. All I know is I pitch ideas, and the only time that ideas get kicked back is if it doesn’t make logical sense to other ideas that are percolating for those characters. I hadn’t seen Brie in a long time, so to be able to catch up with her on set, and hang out while she’s wearing a Captain Marvel costume — it was super weird, but we had a good laugh.”
Cretton and Larson are one of many long-time collaborators who have found a way to work together in the MCU. Before being cast in Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan was previously in Ryan Coogler’s previous two films Fruitville Station and Creed. James Gunn is known for casting many of the same actors across his various films, with both Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn featured in both Guardians of the Galaxy films. While it is unknown if Cretton will return for a Shang-Chi sequel, now that the connection has been made, it is more than likely Captain Marvel could cameo once more.
Larson’s Captain Marvel cameo also illuminates a lot about Carol Danvers’s place in the MCU post-Avengers: Endgame. Due to her film being a prequel and the character being out in space, her character was unknown to many characters in the MCU. Following Thanos’ snap, Carol became a part of the Avengers, working alongside Black Widow, War Machine, and Captain America. It appears now she has become a greater part of the various superhero social circles, given Spider-Man’s reference to her in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and that she is working closely with Bruce Banner and Wong at the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This could suggest Captain Marvel is a more publicly known hero, laying the groundwork for her to be the favorite hero of Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, in the upcoming Disney+ series leading into her own film, The Marvels.