Shang-Chi is Marvel Comics’ greatest martial artist and has been prevalent since the 1970s.  Now, with the release of the Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings trailer, viewers have an actual glimpse of the Master of Kung Fu and everybody is psyched for this film. Shang-Chi comic books have previously rewritten Shang-Chi’s story before the release of this debut.

In this article, we explore the differences depicted by these two Shang-Chi entities. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)has offered viewers a fresh and clean slate not previously evident in the comics. Read along to see how MCU has used the same basic structure in the Shang-Chi comics to create a different story.

1. Shang-Chi’s Appearance and Costume

In the comics, Shang-Chi’s costume was pretty basic. However, some of the latest volumes were seen to redesign the costume. He previously donned traditional robes when fighting and seemed to favor red ones. It was until 2014 that he adopted a more modern look. Other costumes came up with other variations of red and were frequented with a black triangle motif on the chest. Recent miniseries have altered and modified the costume. Shang-Chi's jumpsuit has been blended with fighting garb and scaled textures to bring out dragon entities.

In the upcoming film, Shang-Chi’s costume is a stylized version of the previous red jumpsuit. It has received a more realistic look and is scaled to look more like a battle suit. The black motifs have also been transformed into a more beautiful component and the costume’s texture also bears a sense of modernity.

2. Shang-chi’s Fighting Style and Powers

Shang-Chi has always been very difficult to pin down. He has typically been marketed as the Master of Kung Fu by Marvel and there is a substantial reason for that. He is considered one of the most dreadful but impressive warriors. From the comics, Shang-Chi’s trainer was his criminal father and war lord, Fu Manchu, who led him into becoming a deadly assassin. Shang-Chi was also skilled in various forms of hand combat and he specialized in Kung Fu.

We also saw Shang-Chi take on several superhuman opponents. The comics revealed that Shang-Chi had the power to harness his Chi ability in his peak human condition. He could strike using a superhuman force and also had the power to shatter concrete, brick, and iron. He used his Chi ability for healing and had phenomenal power over his nervous system. The Chi ability also allowed him to disregard any physical pain and to slow down bleeding and poison spread through his body.

In the film, Shang-Chi will reveal the mastery of various eponymous martial arts above everything else. He draws inspiration from the almost ethereal Crouching Tiger’s wushu style, Hidden Dragon, and also Jackie Chan’s kinetic comedy choreography. In one of the training scenes, young Shang-Chi is learning how to punch through wood and in another, his father is shown wielding a power flare around his fist. This specific shot has dialogue that implies that he should have mastered his father’s skills. Shang-Chi does not use a lot of weapons as depicted by the comics. In the movie, the concept of MI-6 characters from the comics may be ditched.

3. Shang-Chi’s origin and basis of the backstory

The storyline has been switched up a bit. In the comics, the origin story was greatly tied to Fu Manchu, the villain. Marvel has not regained the rights to employ the use of Fu Manchu or connected characters in their films. Due to this, Shang-Chi’s origin has had to be reimagined and adjusted. Originally Shang-Chi was focused on defeating his father.

Expect some emotions at play in the movie as compared to the previous comic good versus evil storyline. Wenwu has an ability to love and thus, the film comes out as a family drama accompanied with epic martial arts action. There is nothing better than having an antagonist with whom you can empathize. You will understand his motivations. At its core, the Legend of Ten Rings is about family and legacy, and the relations between a father who is grieving and his two children. They have distinctive reactions to the abandonment they suffered.

The comics also had a lot of spinoffs, spy elements, alternate universes and many side stories. The film will mash all these events together to create a difference between the film and the comics. The film’s story is a journey of self-discovery, progressively growing up, learning to deal with pain, and eventually looking at the past and embracing all that came with it; joy, pain, the good, and the bad. The concept of the alien dragons (Makluans) that empowered the rings and corrupted Mandarin into villains is likely to get a 21ist century update.

4. The depiction of Asian culture

The film explores the importance of Asian representation and seems to possess a lot of Asian influence. There is mysticism, mystery, magic, and epic martial arts. According to the film’s creator, the story is to be told about an Asian identity that should feel as authentic and lived in as much as possible. Shang-Chi uses Asian voices. There are a whole bunch of Asian faces that are cast members. But this is not the main entity about the former Asian culture in the comics that is to be addressed or altered.

The comic stories mainly depended on racist conspiracy and caricature. Theories such as the “Yellow Peril” painted China as a detrimental alien power set to corrupt and damage the Western world. As previously depicted in the comics, the characters were amazing but were also somehow perceived as stereotypical. The filmmakers have now mapped out the film in a sensitive manner and thus, Shang-Chi is not propelled towards racial insensitivity or a stereotypical territory. Fu Manchu, who was stereotypical in the comics is now not part of the cast. The film, according to Marvel’s boss, Feige, has nothing to do with Fu Manchu. He was considered an offensive figure. Wenwu is a composite of Fu Manchu and the Mandarin but does not possess the racist elements these characters were associated with.

The film is set to not only entertain, but also, to destroy the negative stereotypes portrayed earlier on.

5. Parentage and the Characters

Shang-Chi’s parentage and character development have been reimagined. Most of the Shang-Chi comic characters were associated with Fu Manchu who is now not part of the cast. In the film, Shang-Chi is also not linked to Fu Manchu and has no connection with him. He is now the son of Wenwu, also, the real Mandarin. Mandarin was previously introduced as a character duped into conspiracy.

The new version of Mandarin is a particular departure from the former imposter version. Mandarin trains Shang-Chi into becoming part of the family business, the Ten Rings international organization which has been in operation for many decades.

We have previously known Wenwu’s mother as a character from Earth, but now, she resides at Ta Lo, a magical place. Previously, Ta Lo was a mythical land Shan-Chi’s mother only told stories about. Wenwu is also currently immortal and Shang-Chi’s comic half-sister has been replaced with the character Xialing.

6. The Ten Rings

Brace yourself for the most powerful weapon in the film. The film’s trailer reveals the use of the magical Ten Rings by Wenwu for fighting. In the Shang-Chi comic books, the Ten Rings were a terrorist group in the renowned Iron Man Franchise. They were the group that kidnapped Iron Man’s Tony Stark. They could not fit on an actual finger.

In the film, the Ten Rings are actual and physical rings. They are now functional and extending armbands that exude energy and can fly around on their own. Even though they do not individually display single powers, Shang-Chi and the Mandarin bear some of these rings with various energy spectrums.

These rings are worn like the Chinese Martial Arts iron rings. In the comics, these rings were alien artefacts that were discovered by Iron Man. They were used as the Green Lantern ring and were based on The Mandarin’s Ten Rings of Power which gave him different abilities. In the movie, the rings have also increased in size and this is probably somehow an intention to visually disconnect them from the Infinity Gauntlet spirit. These rings were previously soul receptacles of the fallen Makluan heroes.


There is no doubt that Shang-Chi comic books have now paved the way for a great superhero movie. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set for theatres and is highly anticipated. It possesses an almost all-new set of characters. Like in the comics, the creation of the entire story in Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings is about discovering a father’s evil nature and rebellion. However, significant changes have been implemented.

These differences makeover the organizations and the community of villains that Shang-Chi is set to encounter. Despite all these changes, we cannot wait for this unique movie. We all know how Marvel excellently whips up superhero movies.

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