In a new featurette for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has confirmed that the film is connected to the events of the first Iron Man movie that officially kicked off the start of the MCU. While most Marvel fans immediately recognized the Ten Rings name when it appeared in the Shang-Chi title, the organization has had a convoluted presence in the MCU, so there was justifiable doubt about whether it was a reference to Iron Man or not. Well, in the very first moments of the new Shang-Chi featurette, Feige makes it clear that the Ten Rings connection is legit.
“We’re going back to the very beginning of the MCU,” Feige says in the video. “We have a keystone event, and that event is Tony Stark becoming Iron Man. He’s forced to build these weapons for an organization, and that organization was the Ten Rings.”
Here’s where things get messy. While the first Iron Man film never shows The Mandarin, who’s the head of the Ten Rings and a longtime rival of Tony Stark in the comics, Iron Man 3 introduced The Mandarin to the MCU — except not really. The film pulled a divisive twist on fans by revealing that Sir Ben Kingsley’s portrayal of the classic villain was really just a bumbling British actor named Trevor, and not The Mandarian. However, Marvel slightly retconned that creative decision in the short, All Hail the King, which revealed that the real Mandarin does exist in the MCU, and he wasn’t thrilled with Trevor’s ruse.
But with all of that in the past, Marvel fans will now get a proper introduction to the MCU version of The Mandarin played by Tony Leung. As the featurette reveals, The Mandarian is Shang-Chi’s father, who’s hoping to bring his son back into the fold of his criminal empire, but our hero has other plans.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings punches into theaters on September 3.