Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings is my most-anticipated MCU movie coming down the line. I’m a big Eternals fan, cannot wait to see sequels to Black Panther and Captain Marvel, am curious where they take Spider-Man, but Shang-Chi is the only MCU movie (that we know of) that is set in the aftermath of The Blip. The Avengers were essentially disbanded for five years, with Iron Man hanging up his suit, Captain America leading support groups, Thor drinking himself into a stupor, and Hulk merging him and Banner into one person. It stands to reason that other threats popped up during this five year gap from when Thanos first snapped his fingers to 2023, where the Avengers eventually brought everybody back. Keep in mind: Thanos’s snap disintegrated half of the life in the universe, and it also stands to reason that were some pretty serious consequences. With Tony’s snap at the Endgame, I’d wager there were some other unintended consequences too, though I will save that for another article.
During the five year time gap, my thinking is that Shang-Chi is one of the heroes that popped up during that time. I, also, believe that the time gap they implemented in Endgame was deliberately implemented in order for Marvel to use Disney+ and other feature films to fill in those gaps. One of the things we did not see a lot of in Endgame was how the rest of the world was dealing with the Avengers disbanding. The Sokovia Accords most likely remained in place, and it is a very different world than when the Avengers first fought Thanos in 2018. That means whatever heroes and villains popped up had to do so in secret. Wakanda had no King, as far as we know. The Defenders vanished (even if Feige wants to pretend those Netflix shows did not happen). Ant Man learned the Quantum Realm, and who knows what other fantastic things he ran into while he was trapped in there. Needless to say, there is a lot of story to tell, and Shang-Chi’s tournament feels like the right place to start re-populating this world with heroes and villains alike.
Shang Chi #112 revolves around Shang-Chi fighting in an underground martial arts tournament. While Marvel has been loose with the adaptations, this feels like something that could directly translate into making this movie very different compared to other Marvel movies, and our own Charles has found evidence to support that there will be a tournament in Shang-Chi. The basis of the film will most likely see an exiled Shang-Chi is trying to do whatever it takes to get to the Mandarin, aka his Father, and stop the reign of terror he has inflicted with his 10 Rings of Power. With no Avengers to lean on, especially on this side of the world, he enters this tournament to go after him himself. The tournament is held in Madripoor, an island in Southeast Asia that is shrouded in mystery. This island, we already know, plays a role in the upcoming The Falcon and The Winter Soldier Disney+ series, but I do not think Kevin Feige would use such an iconic Marvel location one time. Looking through the comics, there are countless characters that have crossed paths with this location and Shang-Chi, and they’d do well to make up the other participants of this tournament.
Let’s kick this off with Wolverine, but he’s not known as Wolverine but as Patch during this time. The ageless X-Men has very often been depicted as the same age as the other X-Men, but he is actually 103 years old when he first encounters the X-Men in 1993. I think Feige honors this part of Wolverine’s origin and doesn’t let him cross paths with the X-Men until much later in his story. For this story, I believe Wolverine is on a mission to hunt the man responsible for blowing up the embassy during the signing of the Sokovia Accords and starting Civil War and after attempting to visit Wakanda and not finding any answers as to Bucky’s whereabouts, he travels 4300 miles East to an island in Asia and ends up in Madripoor, where he falls in love with a mutant operative named Leiku Rose Wu, and befriends a daywalker named Blade.
Blade is in Madripoor for two reasons: Blade has heard that one of the Mandarin’s 10 Rings, the Remaker, can rearrange the atoms and molecules of a substance, or speed up or slow down their movement, so as to produce various effects. With Blade refusing to feed on human blood, he believes this ring can help him speed up the effects of the animal blood he has been feeding on. The other reason he ends up in Madripoor is that he felt this could be the safest place for him to be given General Ross and SHIELD’s interest in his blood. This is a storyline, at least SHIELD’s hunt for Blade’s blood, derived from the 8th issue of Blade.
You, then, have a master archer by the name of Bullseye, who after killing Hugo Kostas Natchios and his wife Christina Natchios in 2018, leaves the United States and ventures to Madripoor seeking refuge. He enters the tournament because the Mandarin has offered to keep him safe if he wins, provided he kills Shang-Chi in the process.
Following Bullseye to Madripoor after he murdered her parents, we have Elektra. Elektra first went searching for Bullseye in K’un-Lun and, believing that he was being hidden by monks, slaughtered everybody except one fighter and left. She uses her family’s resources to track Bullseye to Madripoor, where she is convinced to enter the tournament by a mysterious character.
Danny Rand aka Iron Fist (after ascending to Iron Fist) leaves K’un Lun in search of the female assassin he saw murder his family. He believes it was Elektra, and receives a message from the Mandarin that leads him Madripoor.
King M’Baku, who ascended to the throne in T’Challa and Shuri’s absence, ends up in Madripoor when T’Challa vanishes after The Snap: he ventures there because Patch tried to enter Wakanda looking for Bucky. M’Baku wants answers, as he is frightened after the alien invasion in Wakanda and wants to keep his people safe. He enters the tournament to fight Patch and get answers from him.
Lastly, a mysterious fighter named Mister X, also, enters the tournament, though his intentions are a bit unclear. He is, later, revealed to be Taskmaster, who worked with Zemo to orchestrate the events that led to Civil War and who actually survives his fight with Black Widow in the upcoming Black Widow movie.
Wolverine beats Mister X pretty soundly but, while sleeping, is captured by the Thunderbolts, who want to hand him over to Weapon X
Blade defeats Bullseye but is stopped by Elektra before he can kill him, and Bullseye escapes. As Blade goes to kill Elektra for stopping him, Iron Fist stops Blade from killing her with the thinking that he wants to be the one to kill Elektra.
M’Baku beats Iron Fist, who is still reeling from earlier fight with Blade
Shang Chi and Elektra fight to a draw, Mandarin orders there must be a winner, they escape once Elektra confirms she wasn’t in K’un Lun.
Blade advances because Patch is gone
Shang-Chi defeats M’Baku and tells him what happened to Patch
Shang-Chi defeats Blade and shows him how to escape Madripoor.
Mandarin descends and fights Shang-Chi, revealing that he was the one that turned Wolverine into Weapon X because of Wolverine’s relationship with Shang-Chi’s sister. The Mandarin, Taskmaster and Zemo are revealed to have orchestrated the events that led to all the fighters in the tournament ending up in Madripoor in order to capture Blade to steal his blood, torture Iron Fist for the location of K’un-Lun, kill Elektra to ensure she receives the blame for the killing of the monks when it is revealed that the new Black Widow was really responsible, rescue Bullseye so he can join the Thunderbolts, and capture Shang-Chi if he happened to take possession of the 10 Rings. Shang-Chi and the Mandarin fight and Blade, M’Baku, Iron Fist, and Elektra fight the Thunderbolts while Shang-Chi and Mandarin fight one on one. Shang-Chi defeats the Mandarin and, not willing to let him live, kills him. The Thunderbolts escape.
Post Credit Scene:
Zemo returns to Madripoor to recruit a wounded Bullseye and Bullseye joins Thunderbolts (who now have Zemo, Red Hulk, Taskmaster, Black Widow, and Bullseye)
Post Credit Scene 2:
Wolverine in a tent washing his wounds, after escaping from Weapon X, when he hears a voice in his head say “Logan”