'Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings' Poster And Images Tease Marvel's Martial Arts Epic

Marvel Studios' first Asian protagonist is almost here.

Just before the surprise release of the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings trailer this morning, star Simu Liu shared the first teaser poster for the new film, which is one of three Marvel-related movies set for release this year. Entertainment Weekly also debuted a few official photos from the film, which is described as "a sweeping superhero epic that combines emotional family drama with gravity-defying martial arts action." Check out these photos below.

Shang-Chi Images

EW spoke with Liu, co-star Awkwafina, director Destin Daniel Cretton, producer Jonathan Schwartz, and Marvel overlord Kevin Feige for an article that unveiled these new photos and revealed some plot information about the upcoming movie. (Head over there to see one more image.)

As the film begins, Shang-Chi (which, according to EW, is "pronounced like 'song,' not 'sang'") is kicking around San Francisco, living a seemingly average life and hanging out with pals like Katy (Awkwafina), a close friend who doesn't know much about his past. But that past is a doozy: he spent the first part of his life training under his strict father, Wenwu (played by legendary actor Tony Leung), to become an assassin. Wenwu, a character who does not exist in the comics, is a "powerful, ancient" criminal who wanted his son to follow in his footsteps, but a decade has passed since Shang-Chi broke away from his father after learning about his evil past. But naturally, the movie's action picks up when our hero finds himself "sucked back into his father's sinister domain."

Speaking of action: Schwartz says he thinks "this is the best action [Marvel has] ever done. Every punch is meaningful, every fighting style is meaningful, and the story is told visually in such a great way." As you can see in the new trailer, Cretton, who is stepping into the Marvel machine after directing smaller films like Short Term 12 and Just Mercy, blends Jackie Chan-style action choreography with the larger-than-life wushu vibes of Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Shang-Chi's father, Wenwu, narrates the trailer and clearly casts a long shadow over our hero, but his influence has also cast a shadow over the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the title indicates, Wenwu has ties to the Ten Rings, the terrorist organization that was first mentioned in the MCU in Iron Man. In fact, he is the real version of the Mandarin, the group's leader who seemed to be played by Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3, only for it to be revealed that Kingsley's character was only an actor portraying that figurehead. Wenwu has evidently "gone by many names" over the decades, but fans who were furious about Shane Black's bait-and-switch should be pleased to see that villain brought to life in this film. (For the record, I think Iron Man 3 is excellent and I've always loved that Mandarin fake-out.)

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