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The following story contains spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings.
In the first post-Avengers: Endgame movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Nick Fury (or, possibly Talos the Skrull pretending to be Nick Fury) makes it clear to Peter Parker: earth is low on heroes. Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are gone. Dr. Strange is busy. Thor isn't here. Don't even mention Captain Marvel. So Spider-Man had a job to do. But we can't let all the work fall on that teenager's shoulders, right? The MCU's first origin story since then comes in the form of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, a movie with roots that go as far back as the very first Iron Man. And just as we get to know this new hero (played by Simu Liu) throughout the movie, the credits scenes that come after the movie go to great lengths to set him up with a potentially lengthy future of his own.
Shang-Chi introduces us to its titular character in a way that makes him relatable in a way that someone like Tony Stark (billionaire, tech genius) or Steve Rogers (filled with super soldier serum, born in like 1915?) never could be. Shang-Chi is a regular guy; he works a low-key job parking cars at a fancy hotel, he likes going for dinner, and drinks, and hanging out (and singing karaoke) with his friend Katy (Awkwafina). And he just happens to be one of the best hand-to-hand fighters we've seen in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The movie takes us on an epic familiar journey that explores not only the origin of Shang-Chi's fighting skills, but the history of his quasi-immortal and fairly evil father (Tony Leung, playing the actual Mandarin that Ben Kinglsey's Trevor Slattery was impersonating in Iron Man 3), his late mother, and his equally skilled sister (Meng'er Zhang).
It's important before we go any further to note that the titular rings of the title have multiple meanings. There's the Ten Rings, the criminal syndicate that kidnapped Tony Stark in Iron Man and run by Wenwu (Leung), and then there are literal rings worn by Wenwu, which make him endlessly powerful and seemingly immortal. By the end of the movie, Shang-Chi (now in possession of the rings that made his father so powerful for so long) is back at dinner with Katy and their friends, and telling the story of...their entire adventure.
Their friends don't believe the story at all...until a portal opens up right in the restaurant, and Shang-Chi and Katy decide to dip and go hang out with Wong (Benedict Wong) right then and there. Peace out.
We get not only one but two credits scenes before all is said and done with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Here's what we make of all that happens in them.
There's a lot going on in the first Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings credits scene, which takes place immediately after the ending of the actual movie. In the scene, we see Shang-Chi and Katy with Wong in a Sanctum Santorum, where they're talking to Bruce Banner (played, of course, by Mark Ruffalo) back in human form—so much for Professor Hulk?—and with his arm in a sling, permanently damaged from snapping Tony's nano-gauntlet with the Infinity Stones in it, and Carol Danvers (a long-haired Brie Larson) via the same video-projection technology that Black Widow/Natasha used with Rhodey and others in Avengers: Endgame.
The group examine Shang-Chi's rings, and they let him know that they could feel them being used from far away. He explains that his dad has just had them for about 1000 years, and he just got them; they look into them and see a Mind stone looking flicker. It's referred to as a "beacon" for other life. What does this mean? Most likely, it's the signal calling for the Eternals (Eternals, directed by reigning Academy Award winner for Best Director Chloé Zhao, is the next MCU movie out, set to be released in November) to emerge from their rest.
In fact, the "beacon" we see in the credits scene looks pretty similar to the outfits we see the Eternals wearing in their new Entertainment Weekly covers.
— Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) August 18, 2021
Carol tells Shang-Chi "Welcome to the team," and we really begin to see the New Avengers taking form. Wong lets Shang-Chi and Katy know that they have a long road ahead of them, and that they need to get some sleep. Or.....
Seconds later, we see our wonderful trio right back where Shang-Chi and Katy were in the first act of the movie: belting out karaoke in a private room. The song of choice? "Hotel California." It seems like learning about Beyonce and "Single Ladies" back in 2016's Doctor Strange was a real gateway to some quality pop entertainment for our old pal Wong.
We get a shorter (and admittedly less involved) scene at the end of the rolling credits. While we had previously heard that Xialing, Shang-Chi's sister, was taking control of the Ten Rings only to oversee it's shutdown, we see in this scene that is clearly not the case. Xialing is unquestionably taking over where her father left off, and seems to be continuing business as usual, intense trainings included. Only difference? Shang-Chi has the rings. That's important. As the camera zooms out, a message flashes on the screen and tells us with certainty: "The Ten Rings will return."
Now, we don't know what, exactly, this message is referring to. Shang-Chi 2 could of course be coming; we could also see Shang-Chi in a Civil War or Ragnarok level smaller team-up film. It would even make sense for him to be in next year's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, considering how closely his story intertwined with Wong here.
But it's also possible that this could be a future Disney+ series exploring the world of the Ten Rings, similar to how Ryan Coogler's upcoming Disney+ series will be exploring the world of Wakanda (of course without Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, and likely but not certainly without Letitia Wright as Shuri). All we can say at this point is to stay tuned. This world will continue to expand.
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