Who Is Shang-Chi, and What Are the Ten Rings? Comics Explained

Photo: Marvel Studios

Today we answer another fan letter about the weird and wonderful world of comics! Join us as we dive in.

Dear Marvelous Movies,
I just watched the trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It looks cool and all, but I’ve never even heard of this Marvel character before! Can you tell me more about who Shang-Chi is and what the ten rings are in the comics?
From,
Trevor Slattery of Miami, FL

Great question, Trevor! Shang-Chi is a superhero who was introduced into Marvel comics in the ’70s. In the comics, he’s the Master of Kung-Fu!

TS: Cool! So what was his superhero name?
MM: …That was it. “Master of Kung-Fu.”

TS: Huh, really?
MM: Really!

TS: Well, I guess I can see why they’re just calling the movie Shang-Chi instead!
MM: Yep! And why they didn’t make a Netflix series called Power Man.

TS: So what are Shang-Chi’s powers?
MM: Well, he’s a master of kung fu.

TS: Yeah, no, I kinda got that part.
MM: And he’s also a master of chi!

TS: Awesome!
TS: …What does that mean, exactly?
MM: No idea. And that’s even after watching two full seasons of Iron Fist.

TS: Oof. That sounds like a personal problem.
MM: Mistakes were made.

TS: So what’s all this about the Ten Rings, then?
MM: Well, the Ten Rings is a villainous organization who was mentioned way back in the first Iron Man movie! And the name comes from the Mandarin, who in the comics wields ten rings with different magical powers! He’ll be the villain of the Shang-Chi movie!

TS: The Mandarin? Didn’t we already see him in Iron Man 3, though?
MM: …not exactly. And we don’t talk about how that movie handled the Mandarin.

TS: Hey, I thought it was pretty good.
MM: Well, nobody’s perfect.

TS: So what kinds of powers do these ten rings have?
MM: Well, nine of them were gifted to the race of men, who above all desire power. But they were all of them deceived, for another ring was made. Into this ring, the Mandarin poured his malice, his cruelty, and–

TS: Are you sure you aren’t thinking of someone else?
MM: Hey, we’re the experts here! And how many different magic rings can there actually be out there, anyway?

TS: So do you think this Shang-Chi movie will be any good?
MM: Well, yeah! It already looks better than Iron Man 3 and Iron Fist combined! Ironic, isn’t it?

TS: What about Iron Chef?
MM: I don’t think that’s part of the MCU yet. But just give it time, and I’m sure they’ll connect it somehow!

TS: So do you think we’ll get to see any more of that guy who played the fake Mandarin back in Iron Man 3? I hear he really stole the show!
MM: I think we’re done here!

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3rd.

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