(Photo by © Marvel Studios, © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
When the studio dropped its trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings last Friday, keen-eyed fans noticed that the character – or a creature that looked almost exactly like him, with a few improvements like those larger fins along his spine – appeared in the last few seconds, fighting in what looks to be an underground tournament. His adversary? Well, it looked more than a little like Wong (Benedict Wong), the sorcerer first introduced in Doctor Strange. But Wong, the actor, was not officially credited in the Shang-Chi cast list (though a lunch in Sydney between the star and Shang-Chi lead Simu Liu had raised some suspicions).
Rotten Tomatoes sat down with Feige this week for an extended look at Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the full video of which will be available shortly in the lead-up to Black Widow‘s release. When we asked for confirmation that we had indeed seen The Abomination squaring off against Wong in the closing moments of the Shang-Chi trailer, Feige revealed that our eyes were not deceiving us.
“Yes, we just recently released the final trailer for Shang-Chi,” said Feige. “Some fans said, ‘This looks like a character they hadn’t seen in many years named The Abomination, fighting a character that looks like Wong. And I can say that the reason it looks like that is because that is Abomination fighting Wong.”
Feige went on to say that the ability to bring back characters like The Abomination is one of the joys of his work on the MCU. “[It’s] a fun thing to have a character that we haven’t had on screen in over a decade show up again in the MCU. And to see fans on that little tag of the trailer recognize that and embrace that is great fun.”
(Photo by Jasin Boland, © Marvel Studios, © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Shang-Chi also affords Marvel Studios a second go, of sorts, at another storied villain: The Mandarin. In the comics, the character, which was teased in Iron Man 3 but who, in that film, turned out to be bumbling actor-for-hire Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) – much to some fans’ chagrin – is the founder of the Ten Rings, and the Ten Rings will make a proper debut in the upcoming solo film.
“That’s what’s fun about the MCU at this stage,” Feige told Rotten Tomatoes. “We can do something like Shang-Chi, introducing a brand new hero into the MCU and into the world at large. But that subtitle, The Legend of the Ten Rings, actually connects it back to the very beginning of the MCU, the Ten Rings being the organization that kidnapped Tony Stark at the very beginning of Iron Man one. And that organization was inspired by a character called the Mandarin in the comics.”
“And going back to Iron Man one: We’ve been talking about that when we do bring this character to the screen, [we] only wanted to do it when we felt we could do it supreme justice and really showcase the complexity of this character, which frankly we couldn’t do in an Iron Man movie because an Iron Man movie is about Iron Man; an Iron Man movie is about Tony Stark. So [Iron Man 3 director] Shane Black, in his film and his script that he co-wrote, came up with this fun twist that we love to this day, and it turned out to be Trevor Slattery. Just because that version wasn’t real didn’t mean there’s not a leader of the Ten Rings organization, and that is who we meet for the first time in Shang-Chi.”
Feige says he is particularly excited to have cast Hong Kong acting legend Tony Leung Chiu-wai in the role. “Tony Leung playing Shang-Chi’s father and the leader of the Ten Rings is another pinch-yourself, dream-come-true moment because he’s one of the best actors of our time and we’re very excited to have him introduced to, I hope, a whole new fan base who might not be aware of his spectacular work that he’s done.”
Check in with Rotten Tomatoes for our full extended video interview with Kevin Feige previewing Phase 4 of the MCU.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters September 3, 2021. She-Hulk is expected to be released on Disney+ in 2022.
Thumbnail image: © Marvel Studios and © Universal