Marvel's Shang-Chi: Simu Liu and Director Reveal Credits Scene Secrets (Exclusive)

Simu Liu and director Destin Daniel Cretton reveal how their Marvel movie assembled Avengers in the era of COVID-19 and other credits scenes secrets from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsSpoiler warning for Marvel's Shang-Chi. When Wong (Benedict Wong) calls on Shang-Chi (Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) to examine the centuries-old rings that Wenwu (Tony Leung) wielded as leader of the Ten Rings organization, they call on two of Earth's mightiest heroes for help. Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), a.k.a. the Hulk, and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a.k.a. Captain Marvel, answer the call via holograms, both appearing remotely as we saw in Avengers: Endgame

Cretton reveals the in-universe and practical reasons behind those Avengers cameos, explaining the actors interacted with stand-ins and reference balls in part because of COVID-19 restrictions in place during the making of the Australia-shot Shang-Chi

"They were holograms practically because those characters would not be able to be in that same room in the [Marvel Cinematic Universe], because of what they are up to in other areas of the MCU," Cretton said on ComicBook's Phase Zero podcast. "They were also holograms because there's no way with COVID that we could have got those actors together. So we were not in the same room. So when you see Simu performing, he's [looking at something else]." 

Liu recalls looking at "highlighter tape attached to the ball" when imagining his interaction with Ruffalo's Banner and Larson's Danvers. The crew achieved the scene with the help of lookalike stand-ins who stood behind a bookcase, speaking lines later performed by Ruffalo and Larson.  

"I mean, it was a challenge, but I mean, hey. I spent that whole dragon climax acting to a laser pointer, so I was well-versed by then," quipped Liu. "It was a lot of fun, that [credits] scene, for a lot of reasons. First of all, Benedict Wong, who plays Wong, was there on the day with us, and he is just absolutely incredible to act with. It very much felt like we were in his wheelhouse. Stepping onto the set, it was like parts of Kamar-Taj that had been assembled together."

"So first of all, huge, massive geek moment for me, but to then have him step onto the set, and he's got his hands behind his back, he's wearing the whole tunic, and he's got the look, he's got the Wong look," the first-time Marvel superhero continued. "It just really felt like he owned the place and we were all just visitors, and then when he turns to our characters and he says, 'From now on, the trajectory of your lives will be like nothing you've ever known.' I mean, I can't tell you just how deep a level I feel those words as Simu, because I really do feel like I've joined the circus, and maybe, Destin, you feel the same way of just like, 'Well, we're in it now.'"

Following an ominous beacon sent out by the powerful glowing rings, Banner ends the scene by welcoming Shang-Chi and Katy to "the circus." What that circus entails, and what that scene is setting up, is a question better suited for producer and Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige. 

"I know all the source material, but I also know in all the ways that we just kind of will take source material and throw it like Luke's lightsaber in the beginning of The Last Jedi," Liu said of the Marvel comic books. "I think we do it in a way that always benefits story, that we treat source material not as chains that bind us, but as guiding lights along the way to finding story. And so that's part of why Shang-Chi is resonant is because we didn't make the 1970s version of that character or his dad, which would have been super racist."

Liu added: "So if you were to ask me, do I have any idea where we're going with the rings, or the signal, or anything like that? I would say absolutely not, no more than the most speculative of Marvel websites." 

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Starring Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Ronny Chieng, Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing only in theaters.