Marvel's upcoming martial arts movie will officially be called Shang-Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings. Marvel finally revealed the beginning of their Phase 4 slate at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, confirming a number of projects that have been believed to be in the works for months.
One of the most prominent of these was Shang-Chi, Marvel's first Asian-led superhero movie. Marvel confirmed that they have cast Simi Liu as the titular hero, and Tony Leung as the movie's villain, the Mandarin. It's generally assumed that Shang-Chi's origin story will be rewritten subtly; in the comics, he was the son of a crime lord named Fu Manchu, but it would make sense for him to be the Mandarin's son in the MCU.
As part of their SDCC 2019 panel, Marvel officially revealed that the film's full title will be Shang-Chi: Legend of the Ten Rings. This title carries something of a double meaning. In the comics, the Mandarin wields ten alien rings of power, while in the MCU the Ten Rings have been portrayed as a terrorist organization in Iron Man and Iron Man 2.
The title's use of the word "Legend" suggests that the Shang-Chi movie will draw upon the comics rather than the movies, though. In the comics, the Mandarin's ten rings each contained the spirit of a long-dead legendary cosmic warrior. They were brought to Earth by an alien explorer who crash-landed and was forced to flee into a cave in the Valley of Spirits in China. The Mandarin found the explorer and his ship, and became transfixed by the cylinders containing the rings. He broke the rings free and took to wearing them, falling under the warlike influence of the spirits contained within them. Each of the rings grants the Mandarin a different power:
- The Remaker ring grants the Mandarin the ability to manipulate matter.
- The Influence ring projects devastating force-blasts.
- The Spin ring creates vortexes of air.
- The Spectral ring can disintegrate objects.
- The Nightbringer ring can create areas of darkness.
- The Daimonic ring can manipulate electromagnetic energy.
- The Incandescence ring can spontaneously combust objects.
- The Liar ring can manipulate the minds of others.
- The Lightning ring projects electrical blasts.
- The Zero ring can lower the temperature around someone, trapping them in ice.
The early MCU was reluctant to embrace the supernatural; even the Asgardian magic of Thor was explained away as advanced science. Over the years, though, Marvel has become increasingly confident, introducing their own version of sorcery in 2016's Doctor Strange. That was followed by Thor: Ragnarok, which wholeheartedly embraced the idea that the Asgardians are gods. The traditional, magical Mandarin's Rings would have been an awkward fit in the MCU's Phase 1, but they'd work perfectly now; and it wouldn't be hard to envision a retcon where the Mandarin named his terrorist group after the weapons he wields.