June is almost over and Marvel has yet to release a new MCU film in theaters this year, but that’s only because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis that made it impossible for
Both Eternals (November 6th) and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (September 3rd) will introduce brand new superheroes who we haven’t met in the MCU before. The former is the most anticipated film of the MCU because of the team of superheroes it’ll introduce — and because of the movie’s Oscar potential. Meanwhile, Shang-Chi is the most mysterious of the four 2021 Phase 4 films, as we have no idea how this martial arts story fits within the larger MCU storyline. But we have a new trailer that provides the film’s first surprising twist, as well as an answer to our question. The final scenes in the clip that Marvel just released give us a glimpse at a formidable Avengers foe who we haven’t seen in more than a decade.
Marvel has been forced to advance Hulk’s arc without making any standalone movie since The Incredible Hulk (2008). That’s because Marvel doesn’t own the rights for the character. At the time, Edward Norton played Bruce Banner and he faced off against the Abomination that Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) became.
The brand new Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings trailer that Marvel just released does a great job of explaining two essential things about the movie.
First of all, it shows us the Ten Rings, which appear to be powerful artifacts that give the wearer great strength. This is the kind of detail that tells us why Shang-Chi is a superhero movie, not just a martial arts film — fans of the comics already know that, but the protagonist is a lesser-known Marvel character compared to other Avengers. The trailer highlights the inter-generational conflict between Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his father Wenwu (Tony Leung), who happens to be the real Mandarin. Ben Kingsley played the fake Mandarin in Iron Man 3, as MCU fans will undoubtedly remember.
But secondly, the trailer offers another, more palpable connection between Shang-Chi and the rest of the MCU. As a reminder, we need this story to fit within the overarching MCU Phase 4 story. Marvel also needs to draw in fans who aren’t familiar with the comics. The trailer achieves that brilliantly in the last few seconds when we see two familiar characters fighting it out inside a cage during what appears to be some sort of tournament.
One of the characters appears to be a Master of the Mystic Arts, given that he uses the kind of magic seen in Doctor Strange. And it seems to be Wong (Benedict Wong). The other surprising cameo is the character administering a decent beating to Wong: Abomination.
This is an incredible revelation for a movie trailer. Not just because the appearance of Wong helps us place Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in the timeline, but also because it teases Abomination’s return. It all happens so fast, and we have no idea what’s going on. You’ll need to pause the clip quite a bit to catch a decent glimpse at the characters, but it’s obvious that we’re looking at Abomination fighting a wizard.
It’s too early to tell whether we should be getting excited about Tim Roth reprising his Blonsky character. As Murphy’s Multiverse explains, the last time we saw Blonsky, he was headed to a cryo-cell in the Vault in Alaska. The trailer scene tells us the tournament we’re witnessing takes place at some point between the events of The Incredible Hulk and the present. But we have no idea where to place it in the MCU timeline. Or does the multiverse play a role? If that’s the case, this scene right not even take place in the MCU’s main reality.
Whatever the case, the new Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings trailer just gave us more reasons to see the film as soon as it comes out. Watch it in full below.