Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continues to exceed expectations at the domestic box office, and the Marvel Studios release will become the #1 movie of the pandemic era a little later today.

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Deadline reports that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will become the highest-grossing movie of the pandemic era later today by topping Black Widow's $183.4 million domestic haul. 

The Marvel Studios movie managed to achieve this impressive feat without heading down the Disney+ Premier Access route, and this news comes shortly after it was confirmed that Shang-Chi will premiere on the streaming service for free on November 12. As of yesterday, the latest Phase 4 release is just $200,000 behind Black Widow, a feat many believed it would never actually achieve. 

Shang-Chi is expected to finish the weekend with around $195.2 million, easily fending off competition from Dear Evan Hansen (a movie ridiculed on social media and torn apart by critics) and The Many Saints of Newark. This makes it the first movie of 2021 to hold the #1 spot for four weeks in a row. 

Over the past few weeks, Shang-Chi managed to pass the totals of A Quiet Place Part 2 and F9: The Fast Saga, and Black Widow was the last hurdle for the blockbuster to overcome. 

In our review of the latest Marvel Studios movie, we concluded by saying, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is nothing short of action movie perfection; this is the MCU like you’ve never seen before, and it’s no exaggeration to say Simu Liu was born to play the MCU’s newest Avenger."

We'll hopefully have updated international box office numbers to share with you over the weekend. With no China release, those figures obviously haven't been quite as high as Disney might have hoped.

How many times have you watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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Shang-Chi's post-credits scenes tease the MCU's future!

5. The Hulk's New Status Quo

One of the biggest surprises in this stinger is the fact Bruce Banner is back in his human form despite finding a way to unite his two personas between the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame

We were under the impression that Smart Hulk was part-Bruce, part-Hulk, and there was no indication he had the ability to revert to his normal self. Using the Infinity Gauntlet could be to blame, of course, and Bruce's arm is in a sling (meaning he definitely hasn't healed from the damage the Stones did). 

We can't help but wonder if this change is to save a little money in the She-Hulk TV series, but it's possible Bruce's days as The Hulk are now firmly behind him. 

If so, that's huge, but it's good to see he's still playing an active role in whatever remains of The Avengers. Hopefully, whatever damage the Stones did to him isn't terminal because we'd hate to say goodbye to the Jade Giant in any form even if Jennifer Walters is on the way to the MCU.

4. A New Ten Rings

In the second stinger, we catch up with Shang-Chi's sister, Xialing. While she was supposedly returning to their father's base to shut down his operations, she's instead taken them over - no great surprise considering we first found her running an illegal underground fight club! 

This new Ten Rings has male and female warriors training and appears to be a vastly more modern enterprise than the one Wenwu spent a thousand years ruling over. 

Razor Fist is by her side, and an ominous title card promises that "The Ten Rings Will Return." The question is, was that referring to this group or the weapons Shang-Chi wields? It could be both, but we're definitely anticipating Xialing's group making a major impact in the MCU moving forward.

The Power Broker could have a formidable new rival, that's for sure...

3. Captain Marvel Is Back In Space

Carol Danvers may have returned to Earth to battle Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, but she clearly didn't stick around for long after Tony Stark's funeral. 

After spending years protecting the cosmos, perhaps that shouldn't come as too much of a shock, but her interaction with Shang-Chi confirms Captain Marvel is still protecting the spaceways. An alert pulls her back into action, and Spider-Man: Far From Home made it clear that Nick Fury is up there with her.

At the end of WandaVision, Monica Rambeau was approached by a friendly Skrull who indicated that she was needed in space, and that's bound to be where she crosses paths with Carol again.

How Ms. Marvel factors into all of this remains to be seen, but rumour has it that Kamala Khan's powers will come to her via Nega-Bands rather than her being an Inhuman.

2. Katy's MCU Future

It would have been all too easy for Awkwafina's Katy to be little more than comic relief, but during that final battle, she proves herself as being more than capable of holding her own. 

This is no annoying Darcy-style sidekick; instead, she's a character who proves to be just as likeable as Shang-Chi, and we can't help but wonder if there's romance on the cards for these two best friends. There are certainly hints that there might be as the movie progresses, but this could be a slow-burn subplot in the MCU. 

Katy isn't just here to be a love interest, though, because Wong, Bruce Banner, and Captain Marvel all address her as Shang-Chi's equal; they're partners! 

We love to see it, and can't wait to see her continue to make an impact in these movies. 

1. An Incoming Threat

When Shang-Chi took the Rings from his father, he activated something inside them that appears to have sent a beacon into the cosmos. No one knows the origin of the Ten Rings, but we have a feeling their creators - space dragons known as the Makluans - are coming to collect them! 

Fin Fang Foom is one of those aliens, and he could quite easily be reinvented (with a less stereotypical name) as a major threat who poses a problem for the entire planet. 

The Makluans could be used to explain how Ta Lo exists in "another universe," as well as how The Great Protector ended up residing there. Tying Chinese mythology into Kakaranthara would be a neat way to expand on this corner of the MCU and explain how those legendary creatures came to be.

There are other possibilities, but this feels like the most compelling and likely. 

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