SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS Concept Art Reveals A Detailed Look At The Great Protector

A newly revealed piece of concept art for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings offers a closer look at The Great Protector, and the work that went into creating the dragon is undeniably impressive.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings took us to Ta Lo, a mystical realm in a pocket of the Multiverse inhabited by many mythological creatures. That included dragons, with The Great Protector taking centre stage in a memorable sequence sure to be remembered as one of the MCU's best.

We're not anticipating seeing more of the creature moving forward, though if the Makluans really are coming to Earth in the eventual sequel, then it's possible The Great Protector might clash with Fin Fang Foom. The dragon could even be part of the same race of creatures, and for those of you unfamiliar with them, they're the creators of the Ten Rings Wenwu found all those years ago.

"Had a wonderful time working on Shang-Chi with Andy Park and the team at Marvel Viz Dev," says Tully Summers on his ArtStation page. "I had the pleasure of designing the dragon. Here's one of the many images I did exploring it."

The level of detail here is really impressive, and this water dragon looked downright incredible on screen. While Shang-Chi inevitably featured a massive, VFX-heavy final act, what we saw in this movie felt more akin to an epic fantasy movie than the typical explosions from the sky. 

Check out this cool new concept art from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings below:

Click on the "Next" button below to find out how Shang-Chi
and the Legend of the Ten Rings
sets up the MCU's future!

5. We've Been To Ta-Lo...Is K'un-Lun Next?

We've learned that Ta-Lo exists in some sort of pocket dimension, and if that concept sounded familiar to you while watching Shang-Chi, we're sure you know about K'un-Lun.

One of the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven, it's also where the wielder of the Iron Fist gains their powers. Danny Rand is in desperate need of the reboot treatment following that TV series on Netflix, and while Ta-Lo isn't one of the aforementioned capital cities in the comic books, something tells us that could be changed for the MCU.

If so, we could be building to the Tournament of the Heavenly Cities, in which each city sends their best warrior, all of whom are members of the Immortal Weapons. That would be an epic way to reinvent Iron Fist, but it's also possible Marvel Studios has something else planned before that...

4. The Makluans Are Coming

That mid-credits scene is setting the stage for the creators of the Ten Rings to come to Earth. Why now? Well, when Shang-Chi wielded them, it sent a beacon out to an unknown source, and that could pose a major problem for both him and the wider MCU.

The Makluans are shape-shifting "space dragons," and while their home - Kakaranthara - was once a paradise, some grew bored with peace and decided to find worlds more exciting than their own. It was when some of them crash-landed on Earth that "The Mandarin" got his hands on the Ten Rings, and that history could easily be explored through the use of some flashbacks. 

Why do they want the Ten Rings back? Well, possibly because they're extremely powerful artefacts; however, they may simply be a method for these aliens to find a new home they can conquer. 

3. A Powerful New Avenger

Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, we don't really know what shape Earth's Mightiest Heroes are in. Shang-Chi's mid-credits scene points to them existing in some form, though, as Bruce Banner, Captain Marvel, and Wong are all working together to keep an eye on any threats to the planet.

Carol Danvers is clearly still in outer space, so we don't think there's much of a solid team in operation right now. Despite that, it's clear Shang-Chi is about to join the ranks of the Avengers. 

Even if there's not a definitive roster at the moment, he's clearly going to be called on in future, and with the Ten Rings powering him up, there's a lot he can bring to the team. This character is a legit heavy-hitter in the MCU, so regardless of what future threats the team face, we expect him to be there.

2. The Ten Rings Rise Again

In the second of Shang-Chi's post-credits scenes, we catch up with Xialing. Despite what her brother believes, she hasn't dismantled the Ten Rings; instead, she's taken the group over, and clearly has big plans for them (including training her own army of female warriors alongside the men).

Razor Fist is by her side, and it looks like she intends to pick things up where Wenwu left them; something tells us that she'll probably be at least a little less villainous than he was, but the MCU now has another powerful new faction we expect to see play a major role in events beyond this franchise.

There's even a title card teasing as much, though your guess is as good as ours when it comes to where they'll actually make their presence felt. Marvel Studios could be playing the long game here.

1. Abomination's New Status Quo

The Incredible Hulk villain only played a minor role in Shang-Chi and, if we're being honest, it was a little disappointing. However, providing you paid attention, there was something to learn here.

Wong appears to have been training Abomination, either to better control his anger or to regain his humanity. It's probably a mixture of both, though since he never talks, the latter seems most likely. He's returned to a cell of some sort, anyway, so it looks a lot like Emil Blonsky has spent the better part of the past 15+ years (as this movie is set in 2024) behind bars. 

The character will next appear in She-Hulk, and while he seems a logical choice of villain for that show, we instead think it's more likely that Jennifer Walters will defend him in court as he appeals his conviction. That could come back to bite her, of course, but should help shake up her dynamic with Bruce!

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