Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will show the real Mandarin for the first time in the MCU. Here’s more on it.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will hit the theatres on September 3, 2021. After multiple delays due to the pandemic, MCU’s first Asian live-action superhero Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) will grace the big screen. However, the titular hero is not that much the talk-of-the-town as is Mandarin (Tony Leung), his father. Here’s all we know about MCU’s Mandarin.
Watch: Marvel Studios’ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings | Official Teaser
History of Mandarin in the MCU
The MCU has only used the Ten Rings in the MCU. And that too as a terrorist organization and not as pieces of jewelry. We saw the Ten Rings first in Iron-Man (2008) where they shook hands with Obadiah Stane to kidnap Tony Stark. Next up was Iron-Man 3 (2013) that showed an actor Trevor Slattery (Sir Ben Kingsley) acting as the Mandarin. It was but a cloak for the true villain of the film, Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce). This showed that the Mandarin of the MCU had not yet arrived.
However, Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King showed Trevor Slattery break out of prison with help from a member of the Ten Rings. The guy tells Trevor that the real Mandarin wants to talk to him and it seemed that he isn’t happy at Trevor using his reputation to put a fake show.
A deleted scene from Ant-Man (2015) also showed a ten Rings member put in a bid for Pym tech alongside Darren Cross as he tries to sell his Yellowjacket armor. This was the last glimpse of the Ten Rings in the MCU.
The Mandarin was originally the main villain of Iron-Man I but director John Favreau chose to not go for it due to the character’s racist caricature. It was then that they chose Obadiah Stane to be the villain.
Past in the Comics
The first Shang-Chi trailer shows that Shang-Chi is the son of the Mandarin. This is a deviation from the comics. In the comics, Shang-Chi is the son of Fu Manchu, a villain that novelist Sax Rohmer created in 1972. Marvel Comics had the rights of Fu Manchu and created Shang-Chi as Fu Manchu’s unknown son. However, in 1983, Marvel lost the rights of Fu Manchu but it got to keep the rights of Shang-Chi as it was its original creation.
In 2010, from writer Ed Brubaker came the version that Shang-Chi’s father Fu Manchu was but an alias for Zheng Du, leader of Five Weapons Society. It was an ancient order that he turned into a criminal organization with the aim to rule the world. Zheng Du had trained his son Shang-Chi to take his place as the leader of the society. however, his time away as a superhero naturally led him to decline his father’s offer.
The MCU can use this info as Shang-Chi’s new MCU-origin. It can swap the Five Weapons Society and Zheng Zu with the Ten Rings and Mandarin. This way, MCU can connect it to its larger universe.
The Real Mandarin in the MCU
Famous Hong-Kong movie actor Tony Leung will play the role of Wenwu, who is also known as the Mandarin. The trailer shows Wenwu wanting his son Shang-Chi (played by Simu Liu) to return to his family business and lead the Ten Rings. But Shang-Chi disagrees and arrives in America. All this happens after his father allowed him to live life in his own way for 10 years. The story continues 10 years later and shows his father try to bring him back to his real roots. Thus occurs the father-son clash.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings producer Jonathan Schwartz told Entertainment Weekly that fans who expect an accurate portrayal of the Mandarin will have to adjust their expectations:
“I think people hear ‘the Mandarin’ and expect a very specific kind of thing, and that may not be the thing they’re getting. They’re hopefully getting a more complex and layered take on the character than that name would lead you to.”
Director and co-writer Destin Daniel Cretton teases the film as a family drama mixed with a martial arts epic. And that carries complicated emotions without being just a usual good-vs-evil story.