According to a new fan theory, a strong link may exist between two of Marvel's Phase 4 movies: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals. In Marvel Comics, the Eternals are a race of a super-powered, immortal off-shoot of the human race that secretly shares the Earth with humanity, and it's possible that the origin and powers of the Mandarin's Ten Rings are directly related to the Eternals.
At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel's slate of Phase 4 films was finally announced after years of waiting. Between 2020 and 2021, Marvel Studios will release Black Widow, Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder. Shang-Chi and Eternals are the only movies in Phase 4 that will follow characters who are new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi will introduce Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu as the titular hero, the Master of Kung Fu, and Marvel's first Asian superhero. Simu Liu's Shang-Chi will go up against the Mandarin, who will be played by Hong Kong star Tony Leung in his first Hollywood role.
Eternals will be directed by Chloe Zhao and is set for release in November as Marvel's second movie of 2020. The upcoming film stars Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Salma Hayek as Ajak, and more. The movie will tell the story of the Eternals, a race of alien immortals sent to Earth to battle another race of beings called the Deviants. While on the surface Eternals and Shang-Chi appear to have very little in common, some of the most powerful artifacts in the Marvel Universe, the Ten Rings, could bring them together.
The Mandarin's Ten Rings And Powers Explained
In the comics, The Mandarin is Iron Man's greatest enemy, but in the beginning he was a rather unremarkable, penniless Chinese man with no powers or special skills of his own. All of that changed when he stumbled across an alien starship owned by a dragon-like species called the Makluans. On board their ship he came across many of their technological advancements. Amongst their treasures were the Ten Rings, which were somehow used to power the ship. Mandarin took them for himself and wore them on his fingers.
After learning how to control their powers, Mandarin used the Ten Rings to become a conquering force, and ever since then he has been at odds with Iron Man and the Avengers. The powers granted to him by the Ten Rings have easily made him one of the most formidable villains on Earth. Each of the rings possesses a unique ability that the Mandarin can unleash upon his foes. He can shoot beams of ice, fire, lightning, and other forms of energy. He can mentally control others, alter gravity, generate darkness, disintegrate people and objects, make himself fly or create gusts of wind, and rearrange matter. In short, the Ten Rings make Mandarin a true powerhouse in the Marvel Universe.
How The MCU's Eternals Match Up With The Ten Rings
So far, ten Eternals are expected to appear in the new movie. The confirmed Eternals are Ikaris, Thena, Sersi, Ajak, Druig, Kingo, Sprite, Gilgamesh, Makkari, and Phastos. While more casting announcements are said to be coming, the number of Eternals probably will not change, since Marvel Studios has already assembled every key member, except for one. The only major Eternal still missing from the movie is Zuras, who is their leader and "Prime Eternal" in the comics. However, since Ajak has already been named the leader of the MCU team, Zuras' chances of appearing in any significant capacity are low. That being said, the number of Eternals matches up with the number of rings worn by the Mandarin. While this could very easily be a coincidence, there could be an explanation for why the numbers match: each ring could represent a different Eternal.
The powers of the Ten Rings sound a great deal like the many capabilities of the Eternals, who are Marvel's most powerful superheroes. The Eternals have as many -- if not more -- powers than even Superman. Unlike other Marvel races, such as the X-Men and the Inhumans, the Eternals possess a shared set of abilities. The Eternals are able to project cosmic energy from their hands and eyes, create illusions, and fly through levitation. They are also gifted with superhuman strength, telepathy, and the power of transmutation.
Three of Mandarin's rings correspond with the powers of an Eternal, including the one with the ability to rearrange matter. This is one of the Eternals' most useful and unusual abilities, as well as a skill that's been mastered by Sersi. But what does it all mean?
Could Marvel Link Shang-Chi & Eternals In This Way?
For thousands of years, the Eternals have been a technologically advanced civilization. One Eternal in particular, Phastos, who will be played by Brian Tyree Henry in the MCU, is responsible for engineering and designing many of their weapons and innovations. Could Phastos have forged the Ten Rings thousands of years ago? He could have created each ring to symbolize their corresponding Eternal's standing in their society. Over the centuries, the rings could have been lost and forgotten -- until they are found by Mandarin who will use them to build a criminal empire.
This doesn't explain why each ring has an ability, especially since Eternals have no need of additional powers. For some unknown reason, the Eternals may have intentionally, or perhaps even unintentionally, infused their powers into the rings. Of course, not all of their abilities match up perfectly with Mandarin's, but this hardly matters. The intricate details of each ring's powers is something that Marvel Studios can change for Shang-Chi, if necessary.
A connection this deep between Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings doesn't seem too far-fetched, even if both are set in two different genres. This is the very nature of the MCU, after all: every movie stands on its own, but it's all connected.
- 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