While most of the action in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings played out in a serious of immaculately choreographed martial arts set pieces, the film didn't shy away from using visual effects to bring some more fantastical elements to the screen. The third act takes place largely in Ta Lo, the mystical realm filled with magical creatures, and Destin Daniel Cretton's film utilizes those creatures to the fullest extent. This includes a massive final battle against a character known as the Dweller-in-Darkness, though the entity looked a lot different than comic readers may have expected.
In Shang-Chi, Dweller-in-Darkness appears as a dragon-like creature, which makes sense given that it rivals the Great Protector. In the comics, however, Dweller-in-Darkness typically appears as more Cthulhu-like, with features more closely resembling that of an octopus. ComicBook.com's own Adam Barnhardt recently sat down with Weta Digital's Sean Walker, who was a VFX supervisor on Shang-Chi, and he explained that the different style for Dweller just felt natural.
"Like the Cthulhu-looking guy? No, it was always exactly kind of what it was," Walker told us. "We did embellish. The good thing about something like the Dweller in Darkness is it's basically just the stuff of nightmares. So we can go a little ham with it. We looked into all kinds of crazy materials, like raw meat for the skin that surrounds the teeth and the mouth, and lots of obviously lizard reference for scales and bats for wings and that kind of thing. But yeah, it's for the most part, exactly. Again, is exactly as it came in and we saw the designs and we went with it and then we just made it as freaky and as gross as possible."
Like Walker said, Dweller-in-Darkness is supposed to be nightmarish in nature, so there is freedom to play with how the character is designed. For a culture like the one in Ta Lo, where dragons are such prominent figures, it makes sense for a creature like Dweller to embody that style. All of its important properties were present, and that's all that really matters.
What did you think of the new MCU design for the Dweller-in-Darkness? Do you think there's a chance it pops back up in the MCU at some point? Let us know in the comments!