After what feels like an interminable period of impatiently waiting, we have our first look at Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which aims to propel the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an entirely new direction in terms of both representation and action choreography. A true martial arts epic, the first teaser from the film (which you can see below) seems to strike a tone somewhere between high wuxia fantasy and the more down-to-earth martial arts comedies of a performer like Jackie Chan.
Marvel geeks had been waiting quite a while for such a glimpse, given the repeated delays to both the filming and release schedule of Shang-Chi, which has most recently been rescheduled to hit theaters on Sept. 3, 2021. This would make it the second film of the MCU’s Phase Four, after Black Widow, but likely the most recent one in terms of the overall timeline of the MCU when it arrives, given that Black Widow takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War.
The titular Shang-Chi is one of the Marvel universe’s preeminent martial artists, trained from birth by the villainous Ten Rings association to be an assassin. Played by Kim’s Convenience star Simu Liu, Shang-Chi leaves behind the life of violence in which he was raised to escape to the U.S., where he tries to create a normal life for himself in San Francisco. However, the machinations of his supervillain father Wenwu/The Mandarin, played by Hong Kong acting legend Tony Leung, draw Shang-Chi back into an ultimate confrontation. Shang-Chi is directed by Hawaiian filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton, who helmed films like Short Term 12 and Just Mercy, and also stars Awkwafina, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang and Michelle Yeoh.
It’s clear from the teaser below that Shang-Chi intends to lean heavily into top-flight fight choreography and practical stuntwork, giving this MCU entry a decidedly different vibe than so many of the FX-driven blockbusters we’ve seen recently. We’ll bring you more news on Shang-Chi as it arrives—for now, check out the teaser below.