Marvel’s official trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is here, giving us a bit more of the title character’s backstory. It also serves up glimpses of classic villains the Mandarin and Abomination and a supporting (yet crucial) character from 2016’s Doctor Strange.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, this is the first Marvel film to feature an Asian lead—Simu Liu, best known for his role as Jung Kim on the sitcom Kim’s Convenience—as well as a predominantly Asian/Asian diaspora cast and crew. Marvel continues to keep plot details tightly under wraps, except to state that the main character gets drawn into the clandestine Ten Rings organization and must confront his past. “Shang-Chi’s main problem in his life is rooted in not knowing who he really is,” Cretton has said. “He has to learn how to own every part of himself. If he doesn’t allow himself to look at all of it—the good, the bad, the light and the dark—and to own it all, he won’t be able to reach his full potential.”
The “ten rings” of the title refers to the Marvel Comics supervillain Mandarin’s Ten Rings of Power (worn on the fingers in the comics, shown as arm bracelets in footage from the Marvel film), each with a different feature: ice blasts, flames, or mind-control, for instance. As we’ve reported previously, Marvel created an entirely new character, Wenwu, who has gone by many names over the years, including the Mandarin, who made an appearance in Iron Man 3—or rather, Ben Kingsley played Trevor Slattery, an imposter posing as the Mandarin.
In addition to Liu, the film stars Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians) as Shang-Chi’s best friend, Katy, and none other than Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung (Hard Boiled, Chungking Express, Hero, and so on) as his father, Wenwu, aka the Mandarin. Meng’er Zhang plays Xialing, Shang-Chi’s estranged sister; Florian Munteanu (Creed II, Borderlands) plays Razor Fist; Ronny Chieng (Crazy Rich Asians, Bliss) plays another pal, Jon Jon; and Fala Chen (The Undoing) plays Jiang Li. Michelle Yeoh (Star Trek: Discovery) plays a character named Jiang Nan, having previously played a different MCU role (Aleta Ogord) in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. There’s also a masked character dubbed Death Dealer; Marvel has not yet revealed who plays him.
Marvel dropped the first teaser in April, which focused on the character’s present life. The teaser featured Leung’s voice as the Mandarin in a voiceover, admonishing his son for “wasting” the last ten years. Shang-Chi has been working as a parking valet for a posh hotel in San Francisco when he isn’t hanging out with Katy singing karaoke tunes. That carefree existence is about to end. “I trained you so the most dangerous people in the world couldn’t kill you,” the Mandarin continued. “But it’s time for you to take your place by my side. You can’t outrun who you really are.”
This full trailer delves a bit more deeply into Shang-Chi’s backstory, with another voiceover from Wenwu talking about how the Ten Rings have long conferred power on his family. “If you want them to be yours one day, you have to show me you are strong enough to carry him,” Wenwu tells his son. We learn from Jiang Li that Shang-Chi is a “product of all who came before you, the legacy of your family”—and that includes not just his gentle mother, but also his ruthless father, who Shang-Chi witnessed murder someone when he was a child.
We get several shots of young Shang-Chi training, interspersed with his present-day battles against assassins—apparently sent by his father to test whether he’s still as formidable as he used to be. We also get to see him channel the Ten Rings’ elemental power as he faces off against Wenwu. And yes, that’s Doctor Strange‘s Wong (Benedict Wong) battling Abomination (played by Tim Roth, last seen in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk) in front of a crowd.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of Five Rings hits theaters September 3, 2021, so you have plenty of time to get vaccinated in order to enjoy it on a big screen.
Listing image by YouTube/Marvel Studios