SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS And ETERNALS Unlikely To Be Released In China

SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS And ETERNALS Unlikely To Be Released In China

It appears that neither Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings nor Eternals will secure a release in China, a decision that will hurt the prospects of global box office success for both movies...

While the North American box office is slowly starting to rebound as the world struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, China has seen a surge in ticket sales and many recent releases there have broken records. However, two of Marvel Studios' biggest upcoming releases - Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals - are unlikely to be approved for release in the Middle Kingdom.

Variety reports that the CCTV6 China Movie Channel recently aired a list of the U.S. release dates for Marvel Studios' Phase 4 slate, but left both movies out. The channel falls under the jurisdiction of China's propaganda department, a group that has the final say on the American titles that go into Chinese theaters.

What's the issue? Well, the trade isn't quite sure, but puts forward some compelling possibilities.

While both movies feature Asian leads, Eternals director Chloé Zhao has been blacklisted in the country and wiped from their version of the internet for criticising her country of birth in a 2013 interview. As you might expect, it's unlikely that any movie helmed by Zhao would be welcomed there. 

Shang-Chi, on the other hand, has been widely criticised in China for including The Mandarin (once known as offensive racial stereotype Fu Manchu), while the trailer came under fire for its use of martial arts and Simu Liu and Awkwafina's non-traditional appearances. In other words, they were attacked on social media for not meeting the expected ideal of Chinese "beauty."

This doesn't bode well for two movies that could struggle at the box office in 2021 as people get used to returning to packed theaters, but given the reasons for China not wanting to show them...well, Marvel Studios is unlikely to be too bothered beyond the obvious financial losses.


Click on the "Next" button below for our breakdown of
the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings trailer!

10. Living A Normal Life

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Despite clearly spending years being trained by Wenwu and the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi chose to leave his father's side and live a normal life in America. However, it seems the Mandarin only gave him a limited amount of time - ten years -  to do so, and the time has come to return to his ancestral home. 

Shang-Chi clearly hasn't been making the most out of his time in the states, though for him, living a regular life probably came as a relief after a childhood that was spent training for his future. 

Awkwafina's Katy is clearly Shang-Chi's friend, and someone he works with, but we wouldn't be too surprised if there's a romantic element to their dynamic as well. Regardless, it doesn't look like the title character has been fighting crime as a superhero, so chances are this movie is going to follow him choosing to finally step out of the shadows and protect the world. 
 

9. The Mandarin's Son

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Being The Mandarin's son can't have been easy, and if this trailer made anything clear, it's that Wenwu forcing Shang-Chi to fight in a tournament to earn the Ten Rings are incorrect. After all, he already has them, and instead seems more focused on grooming his son to one day run his organisation.

We see that Wenwu has not only been ensuring that his son was able to protect himself as a fighter but also taking him around the world so he could learn how his criminal empire was run. 

At one point in this trailer, The Mandarin looks very much like his comic book counterpart (and the "Mandarin" we saw in Iron Man 3), but we can't help but wonder if that was a long time ago...could it be that the Ten Rings have somehow extended Wenwu's life and he's now ready to name a successor?
 

8. Superpowers

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Well, this is interesting. 

The Ten Rings clearly imbue Wenwu with superpowers and enhance his fighting abilities; that's a huge change to the comic books where each of the alien rings has a purpose not all that different to the Infinity Stones. It's not a surprise that Marvel Studios is taking things in a slightly different direction, of course, but we do wonder why the villain wanted Tony Stark's tech. 

This version is likely a powerful crimelord rather than a megalomaniac who wants to control the world; after all, who needs to use ten magic rings when you can rule from the shadows instead? However, he can be seen seemingly using the Ten Rings to demonstrate his powers in the present day (when that water appears to hang in mid-air in front of a startled Shang-Chi). 

As for Shang-Chi, there are certainly hints he might have powers, but nothing is confirmed. In the source material, he uses his mastery of chi to enhance his abilities and has temporarily gained abilities like being able to create an unlimited number of duplicates of himself.
 

7. Death Dealer

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One of the most mysterious characters in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Death Dealer has been spotted on the packaging of a lot of different toys for the Marvel Studios movie. 

Here, we learn that the obscure comic book character is one of Wenwu's men, and quite possibly his most trusted fighter. As well as training Shang-Chi as a child, he's sent after him in the present day to bring the hero back to his father and is clearly a force to be reckoned with in his own right. 

It's possible he could be little more than a faceless bad guy, but surely just as likely that Death Dealer has slightly more complicated feelings for the title hero than that. He could be jealous that Wenwu still wants Shang-Chi to serve by his side after leaving, and we're definitely anticipating some sort of big reveal about who he (or she!) really is. We'll have to wait and see. 
 

6. The Ten Rings

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The Ten Rings organisation factored into all three Iron Man movies in some form, but there's now no way that Tony Stark will get to take his revenge on the group that kidnapped him all those years ago.

Many fans will be disappointed by that, of course, but that was likely just one of many irons Wenwu has had in the fire over the years. So, while we're expecting some sort of reference to past events, don't expect it to be too pivotal to how Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings pans out. 

As for the Ten Rings themselves, they're now around the Mandarin's forearms rather than his fingers. They clearly have some significance, though, and could very well be something Wenwu has been making use of for hundreds, if not thousands, of years now. They're pretty powerful, anyway.
 

5. Returning "Home"

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As per usual, the trailer delivers plenty of footage from this movie, but not necessarily in a way we can make sense of. There's no indication of when Shang-Chi upgrades to that cool, comic accurate costume, but he clearly is forced to return home to The Mandarin at some point in this adventure. 

He and Katy can be seen stepping out of that helicopter alongside a smiling Wenwu and Razor Fist in the background. Something tells us that despite being insane (and evil), Wenwu probably loves his son, and thinks he's doing the right thing for him. It's certainly interesting that he's allowed Katy to accompany Shang-Chi, but his true colours are bound to come out eventually.

Either way, Shang-Chi doesn't seem happy being back, and this is sure to be a major part of his emotional journey in the movie as he comes to term with his past and embraces a heroic future. 
 

4. Some Crazy Battles

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Somewhere in the middle of this trailer, we get to see some crazy action scenes which we can't explain but definitely intrigue us. For starters, we see what appears to be Wenwu wielding the Ten Rings against an army comprised of some fantastical, mythical creatures, a hint that, if nothing else, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is going to explore this shared world's history. 

There's also a fight against a mysterious female character who, if the leaked Funko Pops are any indication, is Jiang Li (played by Fala Chen, she's believed to be a newly created addition to the MCU).

Those also showed off a massive dragon dubbed "The Great Protector," so this trailer is only really teasing some of the crazy places Shang-Chi's big screen debut will take us to later this year. If nothing else, you have to hope the movie will explore that rich Chinese mythology. 
 

3. Razor Fist

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Again, if the movie's leaked plot was to be believed, you'd think that the action would revolve around a tournament for the Ten Rings. That's certainly how we expected Razor Fist to factor into proceedings, but we see here that he's actually among those who willingly serve Wenwu/The Mandarin. 

In the comic books, two brothers, Douglas and William Scott took on this moniker and pretended to be one person after both losing one of their hands in a car wreck. They quickly clashed with Shang-Chi, and when William died, Douglas continued to works as a criminal, and more recently lost his other hand.

At least some of that looks set to be explored in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and it's looking like Razor Fist will be a formidable opponent to the master of the martial arts. 
 

2. Shang-Chi Vs. Wenwu

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In this blink-and-you'd-miss-it moment from the trailer, Shang-Chi - now in his superhero costume from the poster - can be seen fighting Wenwu (who is taking full advantage of the Ten Rings). 

This could be some sort of bizarre training that The Mandarin is putting his son through or a glimpse at the movie's final battle; either way, a clash between the two was inevitable, but if previous Marvel Studios movies are anything to go by, there will be more special effects than this when that takes place!

Yes, it sucks that we never got to see The Mandarin's dynamic with Iron Man explored in the MCU, but this father/son relationship with Shang-Chi is shaping up to be a highlight of this movie.
 

1. Simu Liu's Got The Moves

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Simu Liu isn't currently a big name, but his career is bound to take off on a big way after joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He certainly comes across as a likeable lead here, but for most fans, it's whether he can fight which is going to be the important thing with a character such as this one.

Well, make no mistake about it: Simu Liu has got the moves! 

The actor presents himself as a legit badass taking on the role of Shang-Chi here, and that's vitally important to making this a superhero we can buy into as being the MCU's greatest fighter. Now, we can't wait to see more of him in action, especially as this trailer clearly only scratches the surface...
 

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