Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the first Phase 4 title for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to have an entirely new Marvel hero in its title. WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki, and Black Widow all featured characters that Marvel movie fans can already be familiar with. Shang-Chi, meanwhile, features a few familiar faces along the way but centers its story on a brand new hero and the other new characters around him. Still, in joining the MCU, Shang-Chi may already have his path laid out for sequels and future appearances if the filmmakers involved with The Legend of the Ten Rings have it their way.
"I'm always confident and nervous in equal proportions," Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige tells ComicBook.com about a future for these characters. By now, the confidence must be up quite a bit as the only Marvel Studios title from the Infinity Saga not to spawn an outright sequel was The Incredible Hulk. In that case, the main character ultimately went on to appear in several Avengers title following it and a Thor movie. "The early reactions to the characters and to [Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings] itself gives me great hope that that people will want to see more of these characters," Feige says. "We certainly have many ideas of where to take them and where to put them. And as exactly as you say, what's so fun, we know the movie's working when it's not just the title character that people ask about, but it is the co0stars or the supporting players that people ask about. And in this movie in particular, that's heartening because we think they're spectacular, and we think they have great potential in the future."
In fact, Feige is not only in this hope. When asked if Shang-Chi has deleted scenes or other ideas that didn't make past the cutting room floor, director Destin Daniel Cretton admitted the reason he doesn't want to share is because he wants to do it later. "There was one setting that we were not able to do in this movie, but I won't say what it is because I really hope that we get to do it again in another film," Cretton says, not giving a small hint of what it might be.
After actively wanting to never make a Marvel movie, it seems the super hero bug has bitten Cretton after his experience with Marve. The director opened up about the collaborative process with other filmmakers as he had to fit his title character and the others into the grander MCU puzzle. "When you're in the Marvel offices, you're typically right next-door to all of the other creative projects that are going on, so there is a lot of cross-pollination going on in the halls... and you do get, as you're going down a road creatively, sometimes you get a little whisper in your year... 'I'm not sure if that would fit because of this and this though, so you might want to go in another direction,' but that's part of the fun of the process."
As for where Shang-Chi goes next, it seems all roads in the Marvel Cinematic Universe might be leading to a collision course with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Still, no one is willing to confirm or deny exactly where the characters will be next. "We don't want to spoil anything," Feige says. "But, I think the end of this film gives a pretty clear direction on, at least, how vital and how important and how directly Shang-Chi is stepping into this world. We are reminded of Nick Fury in the tag of Iron Man 1, telling Tony Stark, 'You're part of a bigger universe, you just don't know it yet.' And without giving away, a very similar thing happens to Shang at the end of this movie."
Shang-Chi himself Simu Liu is hoping for a Spider-Man crossover somewhere down the line, a story which could be pulled straight from the comics. As for whether or not Cretton wil be directing an outright Shang-Chi sequel, "I hope so," he says.
Where do you want to see Shang-Chi go in the MCU? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram! Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens in theaters on September 3.