Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings provides an excellent opportunity for Marvel Studios to bring back a forgotten Captain America villain, Batroc the Leaper, whose first and only MCU appearance came in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Officially confirmed at SDCC 2019, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the third film in Phase 4 of the MCU and the first film on Marvel and Disney's schedule for 2021.
Shang-Chi will be the MCU's first big-screen foray into the kung fu genre, and it'll finally introduce the real Mandarin. This allows Marvel Studios to tie up loose ends left by the Iron Man trilogy, but there are other areas outside of the Ten Rings that Shang-Chi can draw from as well, such as the Captain America trilogy. For instance, in the opening sequence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers attacks a S.H.I.E.L.D. vessel that had been taken over by a band of mercenaries. One by one, Captain America plows through their forces until he comes face-to-face with their leader, Georges Batroc, played by UFC fighter Georges St-Pierre. While Steve is momentarily tested by Batroc's skills as a martial artist, he puts away his shield and easily defeats Batroc.
Though Batroc's role in Winter Soldier is small, it was an important moment for the fans, considering that Batroc the Leaper is one of Captain America's oldest - and corniest - villains. Batroc has yet to have a second appearance in the MCU. It's possible that Marvel Studios just hasn't found the right opportunity for him to be used again, but things could change with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings since the titular hero in that film has a close connection to a member of Batroc's team of villains.
Shang-Chi and Batroc aren't enemies in the comics, but one of Shang-Chi's biggest villains, Zaran, has served as a member of Batroc's team of mercenaries, "Batroc's Brigade". While it's true that this doesn't amount to a deep comic book connection between Shang-Chi and Batroc, Batroc still feels like a good fit for the movie, based on the nature of the two characters. Plus, Shang-Chi is a story about a kung fu hero, so why not pit him against existing Marvel martial artists, like Batroc? A battle between the two could be a fun contest between a kung fu master and a master of Savate (French kickboxing).
Furthermore, Batroc, both in the MCU and in the comics, is a mercenary. Mercenaries and hired muscle are a dime-a-dozen in Shang-Chi comics (and kung fu movies), so Shang-Chi being a martial arts film where the hero doesn't have to fight through an army of the main villain's hired henchman seems extremely unlikely. So in this case, working Batroc into the film, even if only for a fight scene, shouldn't be difficult to do, and it would give Shang-Chi an additional connection to the wider MCU that allows ties into the past without undermining those stories.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022