Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is less than a month away. It’ll solve the question of whom the Ten Rings are, who we’ve got introduced to since 2008’s Iron Man. The first trailers gave us our first look at the unique take of the Marvel Cinematic Universe of the titular Ten Rings. Instead of literal rings, they act more like bracelets that Wenwu, their version of the Mandarin, wears on his arms. The latest trailers and even costume showings may have hinted at the future of this mystical weapon. We definitely know that Shang-Chi will wield them at one point in the film, but they could become a permanent part of his repertoire.
I can't wait to see people cosplaying this when we get back to conventions! pic.twitter.com/SrZVCalqEZ
— Aaron (@aaron_rivin) August 7, 2021
If this ends up true, it also opens the question of what it means for the secret organization. The opening of the film strongly implies that our titular hero has been running away from his responsibilities as the heir for some time. As he uncovers more of his past and meets a mystical dragon, it’ll be difficult to just return to his everyday life in the United States. We also don’t know what’ll happen to Wenwu once the film ends, which opens up the question of a power vacuum is left after their final confrontation. It seems doubtful that he’d take over the organization and try to change it within, but rather try to enjoy his freedom away from the Ten Rings. He may have been given this mission by the dragon, who might be the original owner of those very rings.
If we’d go down a clichéd route, it would seem safe to assume his sister Jiang Li might take over if anything happens to their father. She might rule it with an iron thumb as Shang-Chi tries to live his life. Yet, if he keeps the rings in his possession, it might draw the wrong kind of attention. She’ll hunt him down to return them to their rightful place in her eyes. As such, it would force our hero to go on the run as he learns just how far the Ten Rings’ influence has spread across the world.
Perhaps the Ten Rings are, in reality, only one piece of a bigger picture. The moment he meets the Great Protector, he uncovers the truth behind the rings and sets out to find the other dragons. In Chinese mythology, there are the nine dragons of Kowloon, or the five dragon kings. Shang-Chi features a white dragon, who could be one of the five previously mentioned. So, future entries might have him search out the others to fully unlock the potential of the ten rings. Perhaps, Shou-Lao, the dragon of K’un-Lun, is one of them and his journey will lead him to the hidden city and a meeting with the Iron Fist.