Shang-Chi Star Simu Liu Has All The Same MCU Questions You Do

Once upon a time, it would've been unimaginable to look at an upcoming superhero movie and wonder, "Well, how does this connect with all the other unrelated movies in the franchise?" We've come a long way since then, as the MCU has done a lot to establish how audiences perceive the entire subgenre and to shape expectations for interconnected franchises that function the same way comics or serialized television shows do. 

You can count the star of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," Simu Liu, as one of the many fans who wondered how his first solo movie would play into the events of the larger MCU. But while the rest of us can only impotently tweet about these sorts of things, Liu brought those concerns to Kevin Feige himself.

Tying It All Together

You might think that the name itself, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," gives away the fact that it'll tie into much of the pre-established lore of the MCU built up over the years. Right away, fans in the know realized that the "Ten Rings" connects to the terrorist organization that Tony Stark had to contend with in both "Iron Man" and "Iron Man 3" and subsequent marketing made sure to call attention to the ways that fans should remain clued-into all the ways that the "real" Mandarin will factor into the events of "Shang-Chi." While talking to Comic Book, Liu spoke about if Marvel kept him in the loop on the wider shared universe connections and his own questions about his smaller role amid a much larger world.

"I think I remember asking Kevin Feige because he brought me into his office and he was like, 'Okay, great. Do you have any questions?' And the first thing that I asked was I was like, 'How is it going to tie to the MCU?' Because that's all I wanted to know. I was like, 'Am I going to be an Avenger? Am I going to see this person? Am I going to fight Thor? Am I going to be best friends with Captain America?' Like, 'Tell me'! And he was just like, 'Simu, you just have to trust us.'"

Actors ... they're just like us! The (presumably exaggerated) mindset Liu exemplifies here but that many fans genuinely share — treating each story in the present as merely a stepping stone to setting up future crossovers — feels like a misguided approach to building out a living, breathing superhero universe. This temptation has sunk many a blockbuster in the past that has put the cart before the horse, but thankfully that doesn't appear to be the case with "Shang-Chi." Liu goes on to detail the reason why Feige didn't answer those questions of his. It was partly due to the fact that Feige himself wasn't ready to formalize plans that far ahead just yet.

"[Feige's] also like, 'Because we don't even know ourselves now. He was just so wonderful. He was like, 'We're still working through a couple of things right now. We can't tell you anything until it's been solidified, but you're going to love it.' That's what he said and reading it in the script, I did."

Undoubtedly, the events of the film will position Shang-Chi to become a major player in the MCU moving forward, but the wave of generally positive reviews painting "Shang-Chi" as a refreshingly standalone film sounds like good news to me.

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" will drop exclusively in theaters on September 3, 2021.