Enter the Dragon: a new dragon is spreading its wings in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The IMAX poster revealed exclusively by ComicBook on Monday shows martial arts hero Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and the Great Protector, a mystical red-and-white Chinese dragon, beneath the lording presence of Wenwu (Tony Leung) and his powerful Ten Rings. Liu previously debunked rumors that space dragon Fin Fang Foom would enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Shang-Chi, but the new poster shows another dragon-like reptilian creature that could belong to the same shape-shifting species as Foom: the Makluans.
In the Marvel comic books, it's Axonn-Karr of the Makluans who guides the Mandarin — Wenwu in the MCU — to the power rings he frequently uses to battle archenemy Iron Man. The alien technology comes from a Makluan starship that crash-landed in ancient China, where the Makluans would take human form and eventually emerge as the Dragon Lords of Kakarantharnia.
Director Destin Daniel Cretton says Shang-Chi is inspired by "every Jackie Chan movie ever made," as well as the Donnie Yen-starring Ip Man series and Jet Li's Tai-Chi Master. Cretton also credits the iconic wuxia film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, telling Fandango: "There is a long list. I cannot give enough props to Kung Fu Hustle, which is one of my favorites. We watched a lot of these classic movies to make sure that we were paying proper respect to them and to the long history of martial arts and kung-fu movies that came before us."
After producer Jonathan Schwartz promised "the best action [Marvel has] ever done" in Shang-Chi, Cretton says his movie is unique in that it's Marvel Studios' first "purely martial arts movie" — with dragons.
"This movie is the first time that I think Marvel has put a lot of their emphasis in the action design and, specifically, the choreography. And it's their first time really tackling a more purely martial arts movie, which is super exciting to be a part of," Cretton said. "They obviously didn't hire me because I'm amazing at martial arts movies, so there's also a very strong emotional, dramatic and comedic element to these characters."
He added: "I really fell in love with these characters as we were making [the film], and I think that is something that Marvel continuously does well, is create characters that you can really relate to. And then the most obvious thing is that this is an all Asian and Asian-American cast, which, for me personally, is extremely exciting to have been able to be a part of."