Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has kept fans in the dark about a lot of aspects of its story, but one of the biggest questions has been when the film takes place on the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. Phase 4 of the MCU has already been seen to have a varied lineup of time periods covered in its various films and TV shows: Black Widow was set before Avengers: Infinity War; WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki were all set after Endgame, and many fans thought that Shang-Chi could be set either before Infinity War as well - or maybe even in the five years between The Snap and The Blip.
However, according to Shang-Chi director Destin Daniel Cretton, fans expecting the film to be another flashback to events before the Avengers' battle with Thanos are very wrong.
As Destin Daniel Cretton says (in no uncertain terms), Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is absolutely set after the events of Avengers: Endgame and will move the MCU timeline forward:
Shang-Chi is set in the present day in the MCU timeline," Cretton told Fandango, giving further confirmation ("Yeah, yeah") when asked if the film is definitely set in the post-Snap "present day" of the MCU.
That statement from Cretton may be something of a game-changer for a lot of Marvel fans who expected Shang-Chi to dip back into earlier times of the MCU, in order to set the hero up for a new story to come in Phase 4 - or beyond. With Shang-Chi's place in the MCU timeline now firmly established, the question now is how the film will shape the backstory of what happened to Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), his father The Mandarin (Tony Leung), and Ten Rings Organization after The Snap - and what it means for the new status quo after The Blip.
On the other hand, the fact that Shang-Chi is set in present-day MCU presents a major opportunity. The entire reasoning for why The Mandarin and The Ten Rings are now surfacing and trying to take power is due to the fact that The Snap allowed the organization to achieve new levels of might. If Shang-Chi didn't get dusted, his story of going out into the world and trying to find himself could fit snuggly between The Snap and The Blip - and his father's sudden call to come back home following The Blip would also make a lot of sense.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be in theaters on September 3rd? You can see it on Disney+ around mid-October.