This article contains spoilers for Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings.
The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is out now in cinemas, introducing us to a new hero – Shang-Chi.
But whilst Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings might be an origin story for the titular character, it will have a widespread impact on the rest of the MCU.
As ever with Marvel, this impact is teased with end-credits scenes, with Shang-Chi featuring two – one mid-credits and one post-credits.
We break down both scenes looking at what they might reveal about the future of the MCU.
In the mid-credits scene we reunite with Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his friend Katy (Awkwafina) in a mysterious room which is implied to be somewhere in Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum.
That would make sense given that they are joined by Doctor Strange’s friend Wong (Benedict Wong), with Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) joining the meeting via hologram.
It’s worth noting here that we see Banner here as, well, Banner – not as Professor Hulk, the form he took in his last appearance in Avengers: Endgame. He remains still injured after the events of that movie, with his arm in a sling after using the gauntlet.
The question is then what happened to Professor Hulk? Can Banner change his form at will, or did something else happen?
More intriguingly, the group are studying the Ten Rings clearly curious as to their history. Shang-Chi notes that his father has been using them for a thousand years, but Banner says he believes they are even older that that, something their power signature is indicating.
Things only get more interesting from there as it appears the Ten Rings are sending out a signal, a mysterious beacon of unknown origin.
Unfortunately Carol is a busy bee and excuses herself from the meeting (maybe heading off to deal with another crisis that will be explored in upcoming sequel The Marvels), with Bruce then leaving soon after. Because Marvel like to include some humour in their end-credits scenes, we then see Wong join Shang-Chi and Katy at karaoke.
Of course this scene leaves us with questions regarding the Ten Rings, ones which the future of the MCU will likely explore, diving into their history and who that beacon is aimed at.
It’s possible that given Banner says the Ten Rings are very old, that we will see references to them in the upcoming film Eternals which is a story that spans thousands of years, featuring characters that were sent to Earth 7,000 years ago.
Also, whilst it is unclear to the group of heroes what the beacon coming from the Ten Rings is, there’s the chance that it could be something related to the multiverse, either coming from another universe or signalling to it.
Why do we think this? Well, not only is the MCU preparing itself for multiverse shenanigans, but the power signature coming from the Ten Rings has a similar design to the labyrinth of the multiverse we see in the Loki finale.
Is it just a coincidence? With the MCU you never know…
The post-credits scene is much simpler, showing us that Shang-Chi’s sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) is now in full control of the organisation The Ten Rings following the death of their father Wenwu (Tony Leung).
We see Xialing in her childhood bedroom, then surveying the base of The Ten Rings with her friend Jon Jon (Ronny Chieng).
Whilst her father refused to let women train as warriors, it appears Xialing has a different approach as several female members of the organisation are seen within its ranks.
Xialing of course set up her own empire with a successful underground fighting ring, so she is a natural leader.
However, it is yet to be seen whether she will turn The Ten Rings around using the organisation to do good in the world, or if she will follow in the footsteps of her criminal father, and use it for nefarious purposes.
The scene definitely has an edge to it that teases the latter…
What we do know is that The Ten Rings organisation will return thanks to the text that appears at the end teasing a sequel!
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings is out now in cinemas.