The director for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Destin Cretton, shared a few details about his upcoming Shang-Chi film and it might hint at how The Mandarin, the real Mandarin, will relate to Shang Chi.

In an interview with They Call Us Bruce about his Just Mercy film, Cretton was asked a few questions towards the end of the interview about Shang-Chi.

Cretton detailed that like Just Mercy the film will explore ideas of family. Reading between the lines this could be a hint that The Mandarin may be Shang-Chi’s father.

“In the same vein, the emotional aspect and the ideas of camaraderie, family, and connection is something that will definitely be a part of this movie.”

In the comics, Shang-Chi’s father was Fu Manchu, who eventually turned out to be a villain to the titular hero and one he fought with on several occasions.

Fu Manchu

The character was originally created by author Sax Rohmer and first appeared in his novel The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu. Marvel Comics would acquire the rights to the character and introduce him in their Special Marvel Edition #15.

However, they would end up losing the license and would refer to Dr. Fu Manchu as aliases such as Mr. Han. In Ed Brubaker’s Secret Avengers, he would eventually reveal that Dr. Fu Manchu was an alias for Zheng Zu.

There is a strong possibility and quite a bit of speculation that the upcoming Shang-Chi film may reimagine the Mandarin as Shang-Chi’s father. If so, that would magnify the familial connections that Cretton said would be thematic in the upcoming film.

The Fake Mandarins

The first time we heard of this character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he was more a shadowy figure running The Ten Rings terrorist organization in the first Iron Man film. That terrorist organization appeared to be pawns of Obadiah Stane.

A fake Mandarin portrayed by Trevor Slattery appeared in Iron Man 3. And Aldrich Killian later on in the film eventually announced he was the head of the organization all along. Although this turned out to be untrue as well.

Fans were a bit disappointed in how the Mandarin turned out versus the comic book version. In the Marvel short “All Hail the King,” a member of the Ten Rings organization sought out Slattery for posing as the terrorist leader. It was at this point he is broken out of Seagate prison to meet, and answer to, the real Mandarin.

The Real Mandarin

The real Mandarin in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be played by Tony Leung Chiu-wai.

The leader of the terrorist organization in the comic books possessed ten rings, each with powers harnessed from alien technology.

The Mandarin had been a long-time enemy of Tony Stark/Iron Man, and his alien technology in the power of his rings as well as his regional differences stood in contrast to Stark’s throughout comic book history.

But it appears he might play villain to Shang-Chi in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as be his father. That definitely adds a new dimension to the MCU that we haven’t really seen before.

We can also hope Ben Kingsley will reprise his role as Slattery. And maybe the actor having to face Leung’s Mandarin, to answer for posing as the terrorist leader. It’d be a nice tie-in to the earlier films.

But what do you think of the reimaging of the Mandarin character possibly being the father of Shang-Chi? Sound off in the comments below or let’s have a discussion on social media!

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will hit theaters in February of 2021.

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  • About The Author

    Donald Edmonds

    Donald enjoys short walks on the beach and long sessions at the gym. He graduated with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in English. Always a sucker for a good story and great art, he often takes deep dives into Marvel history for fun speculation on what the future of a franchise might be.

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