Marvel Studio’s Phase Four is well underway. Disney+ has already provided fans with action packed series like WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. However, while these series focused on established characters, the fourth phase is set to introduce a number of new characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
One of the most intriguing characters set to be introduced is Marvel’s Shang Chi (portrayed by Simu Liu). The Master of Kung-Fu is set to make his MCU debut in September in the film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
The recent trailer for the upcoming film promises exciting action, displaying a film that feels like a fun kung-fu movie filled with brilliant action sequences as we follow a heroic main character, as he battles the evil Ten Rings organisation and The Mandarin (first mentioned in Iron Man 3).
However, while the recent trailer may have excited fans of the MCU, there are bound to be many who are unaware of who Shang-Chi is and his comic book origins and skill set.
Shang-Chi was born in China and raised by his Father Fu Manchu, who trained his son from infancy in a variety of martial arts. Believing his Father to be a noble and good man, Shang-Chi assassinated an elderly man named Dr Petrie, who Manchu claimed was evil.
It was after this event that Shang-Chi encounters Munchu’s arch enemy Sir Denis Nayland Smith. Smith was an ally to Dr Petrie and revealed to Shang-Chi that his father was actually evil, providing the ‘Master of Kung Fu’ with examples of some of the evil Manchu had committed. These claims were supported by Shang-Chi’s mother, who he visited in New York City.
From this moment, Shang-Chi declared to his Father Fu Manchu that they were now enemies, with the Master of Kung-Fu spending most of his days fighting to bring down Manchu’s empire.
These battles saw Shang-Chi ally himself with Dr Petrie, Denis Smith and even fight his own brother (Midnight). The film is set to slightly alter Shang-Chi’s origins, with his father no longer being Fu Manchu. In fact, the film will feature Tony Chiu-Wai Leung’s Mandarin as Shang-Chi’s father, with the film focusing on the titular character’s battle against the Ten Rings organisation first introduced in Iron Man.
Shang-Chi has been a member of numerous teams, including Heroes for Hire and the Avengers, with the character being well respected by his fellow heroes and a trustworthy ally. He has had many team ups with Spider-Man, Daredevil and Iron Fist, as he has helped them tackle the underbelly of New York City, which would be something that fans would love to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While Marvel’s Shang-Chi does not have any superhuman abilities, the hero is trained in multiple forms of kung-fu, gaining the moniker of ‘Master of Kung-Fu.’
Shang-Chi has a mastery of chi, with much of his skillset being attributed to this mastery. He has been known to hold his own against characters such as Namor and Spider-Man in the past, and has battled against a number of superhuman adversaries and come out on top. His peak level of physical conditioning and his gymnast skills also make him a very difficult opponent for anyone to take on.
He has a mastery in a number of different weaponry and is known as one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the Marvel Universe. This reputation has seen numerous well-known and powerful characters approach Shang-Chi for aid in enhancing their fighting abilities, including Wolverine, Captain America and Spider-Man, with Shang-Chi helping create Spider-Man’s combat style called ‘The Way of the Spider.’
Shang-Chi was also gifted with gauntlets by Tony Stark in the comics, which allowed him to greatly increase his physical capabilities and focus his chi. While Tony Stark is no longer around to gift the Master of Kung-Fu with the gauntlets, it would be a nice addition to see the Avengers give the hero an upgrade in the future.
Shang-Chi’s introduction to the MCU is set to be massive, with the character opening up many crossover opportunities with heroes such as Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Fist and more in the future. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is due to release in cinemas and Disney+ on September 3rd, 2021.