Earlier today Marvel Studios dropped the first wave of promotion for Destin Daniel Cretton’s upcoming flick Shang-Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings, which showcased a lot of the action scenes featuring the martial arts superhero played by Canadian actor Simu Liu.
One of the more interesting elements of the trailer released is that we see Tony Leung’s Wenwu in full costume as the iconic Iron Man villain, The Mandarin (seen above). However, we clearly see Wenwu wearing modern clothing in contemporary scenes and has a shorter haircut. It seems like this is actually a shot in the past and potentially connected to The Ten Rings’ obsession with Genghis Khan, first mentioned by Ten Rings member Raza in the original Iron Man film when Tony Stark is forced to build them weapons in a cave after being kidnapped.
Here is Raza’s speech from Iron Man.
“The bow and arrow once was the pinnacle of weapons technology. It was used by Genghis Khan to forge an empire that stretched across Asia, from the wintry woods of Ukraine to the Eastern shores of Korea. Now, whoever holds the weapons manufactured by Stark Industries rules the world… and soon, it will be MY turn.”
The Mandarin claims linage with Genghis Khan in the comic books and would explain why he was chosen to become the surrogate character to play Shang-Chi’s father in the film. His is father in the comic book is the infamous Fu Manchu and had to be updated as that character has long been considered an Asian racial stereotype. Wenwu can be given a lot more depth to his character while Fu Manchu would have simply just been a caricature of Asian villains in western culture.
We also see a huge battle with an army on horseback which looks to also be in the past, potentially alluding to Wenwu having the ability to extend his life (thanks to the Ten Rings?) or potentially is Genghis Khan himself. There is already a supernatural element with superpowers on display alongside large Foodog-like creatures.
In the comics, there is another group other than the MCU’s Ten Rings that has a close connection with Genghis Khan and Shang-Chi, that would be The Atlas Empire aka Atlas Foundation. A secretive group that mandates that leaders must have linage to Genghis Khan, you might know them better via Agents of Atlas a group of heroes that are led/recruited by Randall Park’s Jimmy Woo (eventually leads Atlas as well) and in more recent incarnations has Shang-Chi on the roster. They also happen to have a secret base of operations, Temple of Atlas, below San Francisco, the same American city where Shang-Chi has been calling home for the last decade (Jimmy Woo was also stationed there in Ant-Man & The Wasp).
I’ve actually been talking-up the idea that The Atlas Empire/Agents of Atlas could have a connection to Shang-Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings going back to April 2019. Having these potential scenes linking Wenwu to Genghis Khan seems to only bolster the possibility of Atlas being introduced in Shang-Chi. That would, of course, lead to the Agents of Atlas eventually joining the MCU. It’s worth mentioning one of the original members recruited by Jimmy Woo just happens to be Namor’s cousin Namora.
Shang-Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings releases on September 3, 2021.