Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hit theaters on Thursday night, giving fans their first look at the post-Avengers: Endgame era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in movie form after three Disney+ shows kicked it all off (WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Loki). Many Marvel fans suspected Shang-Chi was going to tell its own story which would be quite isolated from the rest of the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but everyone who thought this was quite wrong. In fact, by the end of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it seems the title character's next stop is quite clearly laid out.
Spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings follow! If you haven't seen the movie and its post-credits scenes, be warned!
By the end of the film, it seems Shang-Chi may be destined to appear in Doctor Strange in the Mutiverse of Madness, so we asked Shang-Chi himself Simu Liu and executive producer Jonathan Schwartz. The lead character departed his adopted hometown of San Francisco through a portal with Wong for a post-credits scene which saw Wong, Bruce Banner, and Captain Marvel trying to dissect the Ten Rings and their origins. Given that the Ten Rings seem to have come from another universe and there is nothing in Wong's codex, Banner's science, or Carol's knowedge of alien technology to indicate they are from the main MCU world. An investigation into these rings seems to be set up for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
"Its genesis in Shang-Chi, I think, was pretty organic," Shang-Chi executive producer Jonathan Schwartz tells ComicBook.com. "It was just kind of about, 'What do we want Wenwu to be doing? What makes the most sense? What do we think is going to be a satisfying climax to this movie?' And to the extent that it's going to be picked up and run with in other movies, and TV shows, or whatever, I think only the future will tell. Only time will tell."
The Ten Rings revealed themselves to be a part of a darker, larger play when they corrupted Wenwu's mind and prompted him to open the Dark Gate. Some sort of alternative force is at play and its motivations are unclear but the Dark Gate which Ta Lo has been trying to keep closed as a means to prevent other universes from being devoured may not have had its danger resolved entirely just yet.
When asked which movie the Shang-Chi filmmaking team had to collaborate with the most, Schwartz referred to the Strange sequel. "If you've seen the movie, you can probably guess," the executive producer teased. "It's just a lot of conversations with Kevin [Feige] about just coming in, and what would they be doing at this moment in time, where does it fit into the timeline, who's wearing what... For this particular movie, which is kind of its own continuity in a way, it was maybe less connected timeline wise than some other films, so those conversations were maybe a little bit easier."
Shang-Chi star Simu Liu (who joins the Phase Zero podcast live on Wednesday to dive into the movie) is much more swift in his dodge when asked if he is appearing in the Strange sequel. "You will see me on opening night of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," Liu said. "I will be first in line and enthusiastically cheering and hooting and hollering, along with everyone else."
It is, for now, unclear whether or not the Ten Rings and Shang-Chi will be going on to tell a story in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The story could play out in the sequel due in theaters this March or Wong and the Sorcerer Supreme could have a hand in a Shang-Chi sequel further down the line, further exploring the Dark Gate and alternate universes explained by Ying Nan. As for whether or not Marvel Studios is already plotting an outright Shang-Chi sequel, Schwartz says, "There's always a plan."
Do you think Simu Liu is bringing Shang-Chi to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or will the rest of the Ten Rings story play out in a Shang-Chi sequel? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram! Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing in theaters.