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Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: Everything we know

The Master of Kung Fu is headed to the big screen in a much anticipated 2021 Marvel film. Here's a rundown.

shang-chi-comics
Marvel Comics

It's about time. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Marvel's first-ever Asian-led film. 

The existence of the film was first reported in 2018, and Marvel confirmed it at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 as part of the MCU's Phase 4. Here's what we know so far. 

Who is Shang-Chi?

The character, a half-American, half-Chinese master of unarmed combat, first appeared in Marvel comics in 1973, when the ABC TV drama Kung Fu, starring David Carradine, was popular. Shang-Chi was born the son of supervillain Fu Manchu, but later opposed his father's ways. In 2013, he joined The Avengers. He's also been affiliated with the Heroes for Hire, but is often simply a lone-wolf character.

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His main power wasn't really a traditional superpower -- instead he had the ability to master forms of combat, earning the nickname the Master of Kung Fu. Although in later years, he did gain the power to replicate himself, which could come in handy.

Who's starring in and making the film? 

What's the release date?

The film is set to come out on Feb. 12, 2021. 

In June 2019, sound mixer Guntis Sics, who's worked on Marvel films including Thor: Ragnarok, said in an interview that the film will shoot in Sydney.

What else do we know?

The Mandarin rules

Fans were pretty excited when they heard the villain of the film will be The Mandarin. The character is a nemesis of Iron Man. He was portrayed by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3, but it turned out Mandarin was an imposter. A Marvel short film, All Hail the King, revealed a little info about the real Mandarin, who's in charge of the Ten Rings criminal organization.

What's with the Ten Rings?

Speaking of the Ten Rings of the title, no, it doesn't refer to wedding rings, or the five golden rings of the Christmas carol. The Ten Rings is the once-dormant international terrorist group that kidnaps Tony Stark in the first Iron Man movie. It's while being held captive by the Ten Rings that Stark builds his first Iron Man suit. In addition to the Mandarin, past members include Jackson Norriss, cybercriminal Cordo Gaines and the deceased Raza.

Martial-arts legends

Fans are hoping real-life martial arts experts such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li or Donnie Yen will have roles in the movie, though so far, nothing has been announced.

Fu Manchu has issues

Fu Manchu is Shang-Chi's father, but the character is controversial for portraying the worst in anti-Chinese stereotypes. "I'm pretty sure (Marvel is) going to cut him out of the whole thing," comics writer and artist Jim Starlin recently said in an interview. He went on to elaborate at Comic-Con in 2019, saying of Fu Manchu in the comics, "I was horrified by these ... yellow peril books. These are not politically correct whatsoever. Anybody who's not white is villainous in these things." The South China Morning Post calls Fu Manchu "an offensive symbol of anti-Chinese discrimination."

Who's your daddy?

So with Fu Manchu's problems, there's speculation Marvel will retcon Shang-Chi's family tree and make the Mandarin his father instead. Or, as IGN.com points out, Marvel could make a character called Zheng Zu his father. Zheng Zu appeared in the comics as a mystical sorcerer who used Fu Manchu as one of his many identities. Seems like relating the film's hero to big baddie the Mandarin offers more dramatic potential, though. Luke Skywalker can relate.

Originally published July 25 and updated as news about the film comes in.