If you can’t make it to the theaters (or don’t want to pay for an overpriced ticket), you may want to know when Shang-Chi is free on Disney Plus. The movie will be available to stream a lot sooner—and cheaper—than you think.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the second movie in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most of which follow the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. The first movie in Phase Four was Black Widow, which premiered in July 2021. Shang-Chi will be followed by at least nine Marvel Phase Four films that will premiere between 2021 and 2023: Eternals; Spider-Man: No Way Home; Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness; Thor: Love and Thunder;Black Panther: Wakanda Forever;The Marvels;Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3; and Fantastic Four.
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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is based on the Marvel Comics character, Shang-Chi, who made his debut in the comics in 1973. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is also the first movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature an Asian lead and a majority Asian cast. In an interview with Time in January 2021, Liu opened up about what a hero like Shang-Chi would mean to him as a kid. “I loved comics as a kid, I loved superheroes, but I really didn’t see myself represented in that space,” he says. “I really hope with this movie, kids who are like me, who grew up similarly, can have that,” he said. “That’s really the power of representation: seeing yourself on screen and feeling like you’re a part of this world, which for Asian children who have grown up in the West hasn’t always been the case.”
He continued, “If I’ve learned anything, it’s that good things come to those who do. I’ve always, from day one, wondered if there was any more that I could do. If a door wasn’t open for me, I was going to build a door, or build a battering ram to barge my way in.”
While Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is historic, it’s understandable why some audiences may not be ready to return to movie theaters yet. So when is Shang-Chi free on Disney Plus? Read on ahead for when Marvel superfans can watch Shang-Chi at no cost, as well as how to get a Disney Plus subscription for free if you don’t already have one.
When is Shang-Chi free on Disney Plus?
So when is Shang-Chi free on Disney Plus? Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be available to stream on Disney Plus on October 18, 2021, which is 45 days after it premiered in theaters on September 3, 2021.
The delayed streaming is different from how Marvel and Disney movies like The Jungle Cruise, Mulan, Black Widow, Raya and the Last Dragon and Cruella were released. Instead of streaming on Disney Plus 45 days after their release, these movies premiered on the same day in theaters and on Disney Plus With Premiere Access, which costs $29.99 in addition to Disney Plus’ monthly $7.99 price. Most of these movies weren’t available to stream for free on Disney Plus without Premiere Access until at least three months after their release.
During an earnings call in August 2021, Disney CEO Bob Chapek explained decision to stream Shang-Chi on Disney Plus 45 days after its theatrical release. “We value flexibility in being able to make last-minute calls,” he said, according to Deadline. “Certainly when we planned we didn’t anticipate the resurgence of Covid.” Chapek also noted that there’s “nothing in stone” for future Disney releases and called Shang-Chi‘s 45-day frame “an interesting experiment” and “another data point.”
After the report that Chapek called Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings an “interesting experiment,” Simu Liu, who plays Shang-Chi, took to his Twitter to deny the movie is experimental. “We are not an experiment. We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year. We are the surprise. I’m fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US,” Liu tweeted alongside four photos from set.
Disney’s decision to stream Shang-Chi on Disney Plus 45 days after its release also comes after Scarlett Johansson, who plays Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow in May 2021’s Black Widow, sued Disney, which owns Marvel, for breaching their contract by streaming Black Widow on Disney Plus With Premiere Access and not debuting it exclusively in theaters. According to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in July 2021, Johansson’s attorneys claimed that Disney breached their contract with her when they decided to stream Black Widow on Disney Plus Premier Access for $29.99, which suppressed movie theatre ticket sales for the film.
The suit claims that Johansson’s pay for Black Widow was tied to the movie’s box office performance, and she would receive bonuses if certain benchmarks were reached. “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the suit reads.
According to sources for The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news of Johansson’s suit, the actress lost around $50 million bonuses from Disney’s decision to stream the film on Disney Plus and not release it only in theaters. According to Variety, Black Widow earned $80 million in North America and $78 million overseas, as well a $60 million from Disney Plus, after its release on July 9, 2021. At the time of ScarJo’s lawsuit, Black Widow earned $319 million globally, which makes it one of Marvel’s lowest-grossing films of all time. Disney, for its part, responded to Johansson’s lawsuit in a statement at the time. “There is no merit whatsoever to this filing,” the statement read. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
What is Shang-Chi about?
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is based on the Marvel Comics character, Shang-Chi (also known as Master of Kung Fu or Brother Hand), who made his debut in the comics’ “Special Marvel Edition #15” in December 1973. In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi is a skilled martial artist who was trained at a young age by the Ten Rings organization to be an assassin by his father, Wenwu. When he becomes older, Shang-Chi leaves the Ten Rings organization to live a normal life in San Francisco under the name “Shaun.” The movie follows Shang-Chi as he confronts his past and is drawn back into his father’s Ten Rings organization.
“This movie is the first time that I think Marvel has put a lot of their emphasis in the action design and, specifically, the choreography,” director Destin Daniel Cretton told Fandango in August 2021. “And it’s their first time really tackling a more purely martial arts movie, which is super exciting to be a part of. They obviously didn’t hire me because I’m amazing at martial arts movies, so there’s also a very strong emotional, dramatic and comedic element to these characters.”
Who is in the Shang-Chi cast?
Simu Liu, who is also known his work in Netflix’s Kim’s Convenience, plays the lead role of Shang-Chi. Awkwafina, who has starred in movies like Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, plays Shang-Chi’s best friend, Katy. Tony Leung, who has acted in films like Chungking Express and Happy Together, plays Shang-Chi’s dad, Wenwu a.k.a. The Mandarin. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (who also directed movies like Short Term 12 and Just Mercy.) The movie is written by Cretton, Dave Callaham and Andrew Lanham, and produced by Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz.
See the full cast of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings below.
Simu Liu as Shang-Chi
Awkwafina as Katy:
Meng’er Zhang as Xialing
Fala Chen as Jiang Li
Florian Munteanu as Razor Fist
Benedict Wong as Wong
Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan:
Ben Kingsley as Trevor Slattery
Tony Leung as Wenwu / The Mandarin
How to watch Shang-Chi online for free
So how can one watch Shang-Chi online for free? Well, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings won’t be available to stream on Disney Plus until October 18, 2021. The service costs $7.99 per month or $79.99 per year (which saves subscribers $15.98 from the monthly price.) Still, there are ways to subscribe to Disney+ at no cost and watch Shang-Chi online for free when it’s available to stream. Read on for how to do that.
If you’re a Verizon customer (or know someone who is), Verizon offers free Disney Plus subscription with its Unlimited plans (a.k.a. Get More Unlimited, Play More Unlimited, Verizon Plan Unlimited, Go Unlimited, Beyond Unlimited and Above Unlimited.) If you have one of these plans, you can sign-up for a free six-month Disney+ subscription (which saves you about $42.) Click here for Verizon’s FAQ on how to sign up for its free Disney+ subscription.
Verizon customers with Get More Unlimited and Play More Unlimited plans are also eligible for their Disney Bundle, which offers not only a free Disney Plus subscription for as long as you have your Verizon plan, but also free Hulu and ESPN+ subscriptions too, which saves viewers about $12.99 per month. Click here for Verizon’s FAQ on how to sign up for its Disney Bundle. So there you have it—a way to watch Disney Plus for free.
New Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers can receive a free six-month subscription to Disney Plus. Current Amazon Music Unlimited Subscribers are also eligible for a free three-month subscription to Disney Plus. Amazon Music Unlimited offers a 30-day free trial and costs $7.99 per month for Amazon Prime Members—which is the same monthly rate as Disney Plus. This means that customers can receive both an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription and a Disney Plus subscription for less than $4 each.
Not an Amazon Prime Member? Amazon Prime also offers a 30-day free trial, so customers can sign up for the free trial and subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited for the cheaper price. If you’re a student, you can also receive a free six-month trial of Amazon Prime, as well as an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription for just 99 cents per month. Click here for more on how to sign up for Amazon Music’s Disney Plus deal.
Xbox Game Pass users with new or existing “Ultimate” tier subscriptions are eligible to claim a 30-day free trial offer with Disney Plus as of June 2021. Microsoft announced the perk to coincide with the premiere of Loki on Disney Plus following an earlier offer in November 2020 in honor of the second season of The Mandalorian.
Though the previous offer expired in January 2021, Microsoft decided to partner with Disney Plus again—and the good news is that this perk is available for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members whether or not they claimed the previous Disney+ Perk. To claim it, all you need is an “Ultimate” tier Xbox Game Pass subscription (priced at $14.99 per month), which gives you access to the perks gallery on an Xbox console, the Xbox app on a Windows PC, or the Xbox Game Pass mobile app on iOS and Android.
After claiming the perk, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate users will be directed to Disney Plus to activate their 30-day free trial. The catch? Members can only claim and activate the trial from June 8, 2021, until September 30, 2021. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the 30-day free trial will be set to auto-renew your subscription, so remember to cancel your Disney Plus membership before your free trial period is over if you don’t want to pay $7.99 a month.
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