5 Changes to The Mandarin in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is bringing the real Mandarin into the fold with Tony Leung playing the notable Marvel supervillain. Marvel Studios did a fake-out with the first Mandarin, who was played by Sir Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3. As it turned out, he was just a puppet, an actor by the name of Trevor Slattery. This left many fans upset with the portrayal of the comic book character where they hoped to get a proper version in the future. The one-shot, “All Hail the King,” teased the real Mandarin and the Ten Rings. With the right movie and creative team, Marvel Studios felt like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was the right time to introduce the popular Iron Man rival. Even though audiences are getting the real Mandarin, this version is still different from the comics. Don’t worry, we’re not getting another Trevor.

Beware of spoilers from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings below.

1. The Mandarin’s Real Name

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Fans were treated to a fake Mandarin in Iron Man 3, but it turns out there was a real one in the shadows. In Iron Man 3, it’s revealed that Trevor Slattery and Aldrich Killian were the ones who made up the Mandarin name to represent the leader of the Ten Rings organization. In the “All Hail the King” short, it turns out that the Ten Rings has been dormant, and that will lead to the events of the Shang-Chi film.

To update the Mandarin, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings gave the villain a new name, Wenwu Xu. In the film, Wenwu reveals to Shang-Chi and his friends that it was ridiculous that Trevor and Aldrich named the leader of the Ten Rings after a dish.

2. The Ten Rings

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

The Ten Rings in both the comics and film are rings of power, however, they have their differences. The comic book version’s rings each has a different power, and they are worn on the fingers. Discovered by The Mandarin, they originated from a dragon-like race Axonn-Karr (or Makluans) from the planet Maklu-IV. The powers include ice blasts, fire blasts, controlling a person’s mind, and many more.

Marvel Studios wanted the Ten Rings to be different in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since they had some similarities to the Infinity Stones. Thanos’ Infinity Stones were placed on the knuckles and the back of the Infinity Gauntlet. Director Destin Daniel Cretton and co-writer Dave Callaham came up with the idea of iron rings worn on the forearms, paying homage to Wenwu’s Chinese warrior roots. The filmmakers were influenced by The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and Kung Fu Hustle, which had martial artists using iron rings on their arms. You can even see the Kung Fu Hustle poster in Shang-Chi’s room in the film.

The Ten Rings in the MCU don’t have powers like ice blast or fire blast, but it does have other powers that allow the wearer to create a forcefield or long whip. It can also help them jump really high and give them super strength.

3. Wenwu Is Shang-Chi’s Father

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi’s father in the comics was Fu Manchu, a supervillain and sorcerer invoking negative Asian stereotypes. The father would turn his son into an assassin, but once Shang-Chi found out about his true nature, the hero swore to put a stop to the evil father’s schemes. Marvel Comics would no longer have the rights for the character and in the newer comics, his real name was revealed to be Zheng Zu.

With Fu Manchu no longer a part of the comics, this left a void for the father role in the film. Now that Wenwu is Shang-Chi’s father, this was a great opportunity to include a popular Marvel villain while also presenting a tragic father/son story.

4. Wenwu’s Appearance

When The Mandarin was first introduced in Tales of Suspense #50 in 1964, he was loosely inspired by Fu Manchu with the mustache and long nails. He would later evolve throughout the years, and for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the filmmakers definitely wanted to update his look. What we have now is a character with a clean-shaven face and no long nails, and he gets to dress in nice suits and casual wear.

5. Family Man

In this version of Wenwu, we get a loving family man, who’s good to his children and wife. However, that is short-lived and he goes back to his evil ways. This is a far cry from a straight-up villain who is focused on taking over the world. He’s still in charge of an evil organization, but the film adds layers to the character, making him compiled as a villain, father, and husband.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is out in theaters on September 3, 2021.

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