Marvel’s newest hero was introduced to the world last night as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings finally hit theaters. This film takes fans into Marvel’s Phase Four, following up on Thanos’ snap in Avengers: Endgame and after Spider-Man: Far from Home. This is the first stand-alone film introducing a brand new character since Captain Marvel in 2019.
The future of Phase Four is kicking off in this film, with the credits sequences giving us some ideas of where things could go from here.
The first credits sequences shows Shang-Chi, Katy, and Wong in the New York Sanctum, known for being Doctor Strange’s home base. They are consulting Wong about the ring’s origins, but need some extra opinions. Doctor Strange himself does not show up here, possibly involved in events we will soon see in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
They ask Carol Danvers and Bruce Banner (in human form this time) about the rings, who are equally as puzzled. Banner comes up empty, and Danvers can only say that the rings are not of alien origin and that they are ancient.
The appearance of Banner as human, and Danvers without her short comics-inspired haircut, it does imply that some time has passed since the events of Endgame. The mention of the age of the rings could potentially reference something we will see in The Eternals, but it’s too soon to say until we can see that film in November.
The second credits scene shows us Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister, taking over as the head of the Ten Rings crime syndicate. Now she is training new members which include, for the first time, women.
This growing army may present a future threat on the MCU’s earth, where those without super-human abilities or high-tech help are getting involved in struggles for power in the uncertain political atmosphere that was created when half of the population returned. This type of more earth-based, realistic conflict was the main feature of Disney+ series Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which was met with much critical success.
It is not yet clear how this film might intersect with Wandavision, Loki, or The Eternals, all of which are adding new ingredients to this complex world which now features aliens, magic, time travel, the multiverse, and so much more. And now that Loki has introduced the concept of the multiverse and divergent timelines officially into the MCU canon, the possibilities of where this film is set and who or what it could connect to are pretty endless.