Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: How will box office smash hit tie into Marvel's Phase 4?

Burbank, California - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings not only smashed box offices records, but also showed a glimpse into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Simu Liu stars as Xu Shang-Chi in Marvel's latest film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Simu Liu stars as Xu Shang-Chi in Marvel's latest film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.  © IMAGO / Prod.DB

The latest superhero flick may not stand out as much as its other similar Marvel origin tales. But newcomer Simu Liu gives the titular character and reluctant hero plenty of heart and lots of potential.

The story follows Shang-Chi – who lives under the pseudonym "Shaun" – through San Francisco after he runs from his horrific past.

Following in the footsteps of Black Widow, the film opened to positive reviews and made an impressive mark by breaking box office records.

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It achieved an all-time record for a film opening over Labor Day Weekend, raking in about $90 million in ticket sales in the US and Canada alone, and came in just behind Black Widow for three-day opening weekend sales.

But now that Shang-Chi has made his cinematic debut, where and when does his story takes place? And how will this affect Phase 4 of the MCU?

The story takes us through twists and turns to find out.

The action-packed legend leads to saving the world

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings broke an all-time record for a film opening over Labor Day Weekend.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings broke an all-time record for a film opening over Labor Day Weekend.  © IMAGO / Prod.DB

At the start of the film, Shaun and his close friend Katy, played by Awkwafina, are lackadaisical comrades that make a living as valets and spend their nights getting drunk while singing karaoke songs.

Little does Katy know, Shaun is the son of the infamous warrior Xu Wenwu, portrayed by Tony Leung, who wields the power of the mythical ten rings.

Wenwu uses the power of the magical weapons for immortality and eventually builds the army of the ten rings – a lethal gang which conquers kingdoms.

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Yet like most complicated villains, Wenwu longs for more, leading him to search for the mystical village Ta Lo to expand his power. He is stopped and defeated by its guardian, Ying Li.

Wenwu and Ying fall in love, but the warrior isn't welcomed into his new bride's village, so the couple leave and start a new life with their family.

After Ying's tragic death at the hands of a rival gang, Wenwu – who left his past life as the leader of the ten rings – puts the rings back on to kill his wife's murderers.

His son Shang-Chi has been vigorously trained by his father to become an assassin, and is sent to San Francisco to kill the leader of the gang. Yet, he decides to change his name and hides from his father in fear.

When his past catches up with him, a nonstop, action-packed journey leads back to his mother's village. Along with sister Xialing, played by Meng'er Zhang, he defends his mother's home using the power of the ten rings.

In the end, a dragon, a united village, and former enemies band together to stop the soul-consuming Dweller-in-Darkness, a demon who was actually manipulating Wenwu all along.

After Wenwu realizes the error of his ways, he sacrifices himself to save his son and gives Shang-Chi the ten rings – which the hero uses to defeat the malevolent creature and save the world.

Where does Shang-Chi fit into the MCU?

(From l to r:) Meng'er Zhang, Simu Liu, and Awkwafina star as Xialing, Shang-Chi, and Katy, respectively, in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
(From l to r:) Meng'er Zhang, Simu Liu, and Awkwafina star as Xialing, Shang-Chi, and Katy, respectively, in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.  © IMAGO / Prod.DB

An extra scene that appears mid-credits at the movie's end may hold the key to answers about its place in the Marvel multiverse.

The clip shows Shang-Chi and Katy conversing with Wong, played by Benedict Wong, and holograms of Dr. Bruce Banner and Captain Marvel in the Sanctum Sanctorum.

The trio question Shang-Chi about the origins of the ten rings, and upon further inspection, discover that the ten rings are emitting a mysterious signal.

At the end, we surprisingly see Xialing becoming the new leader of the ten rings.

Noticeably absent is Dr. Stephen Strange, which means the movie probably takes place after the events of Endgame and maybe even Spider-Man: No Way Home.

With The Eternals set to premiere in November, fans have more time to speculate how huge of a role Shang-Chi will play.

Plus, the ten rings may come in handy now that the effects of the multiverse are slowly staring to cause problems in the fictional world.

Could Shang-Chi even become an Avenger himself?

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now in theaters!

Cover photo: IMAGO / Prod.DB

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