Here's When 'Shang-Chi' Takes Place On The MCU Timeline; 'Good Will Hunting' Served As An Inspiration

Marvel Studios' Black Widow dropped audiences into the movie without a ton of context for when the majority of its action is set. Considering what happened to Natasha in Avengers: Endgame, I can imagine some viewers being a little confused about exactly where everything fell on the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. So what about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the next movie in Marvel's Phase Four? In a new interview, director Destin Daniel Cretton answers your Shang-Chi MCU timeline questions and reveals the cinematic inspirations for his movie – including some obvious picks and one not-so-obvious selection.

Shang-Chi MCU Timeline

Speaking with Fandango, Cretton explained that "Shang-Chi is set in the present day in the MCU timeline," confirming that the movie takes place after "The Blip." His wording seems to indicate that this movie takes place after the events of WandaVision (which was set almost immediately after Endgame), Spider-Man: Far From Home (which was set a few months after Endgame), and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (also set several months after Endgame).

And remember, when Cretton says "present day," he actually means the year 2023. The MCU basically took place in real time since Iron Man in 2008, but at a certain point, the movies began to fall behind our actual timeline. The five-year gap featured in Avengers: Endgame helped the MCU not only catch up to the real world, but catapult into the future a little bit.

How Do You Like Dem Apples?

Practically every Marvel director has been asked about their cinematic influences and to define what kind of genre their film fits into, and Cretton was no different. But while most filmmakers' answers are pretty clear cut – example: the Russo Brothers cited '70s paranoia thrillers like Three Days of the Condor as inspiration for Captain America: The Winter Soldier – Cretton offered one choice that does not seem like a self-evident touchstone for this movie.

"One of the very loose inspirations for tone and character was Good Will Hunting, which may be a surprise," Cretton explained:

"Will Hunting is a character that I think has a lot of similarities to Shang-Chi, just in that they have a big secret and they have a lot of baggage that they have to learn to deal with in order to step into their fully realized shoes. Some of the other inspirations...every Jackie Chan movie ever made, the Ip Man series — there's a big inspiration from Jet Li's Tai-Chi Master, and, of course, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. There is a long list. I cannot not give enough props to Kung Fu Hustle, which is one of my favorites. We watched a lot of these classic movies to make sure that we were paying proper respect to them and to the long history of martial arts and kung-fu movies that came before us."

The martial arts classics are not surprising, given how much this film seems to actually care about its fight choreography. But Good Will Hunting ... can't say I ever saw that coming. But in the words of a memorable therapist, if you also didn't see it coming? It's not your fault.

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