Announced during Marvel Studios' Hall H presentation at SDCC, Shang-Chi will see the introduction of the (real) Mandarin as played by actor Tony Leung. The Mandarin will be the antagonist of the film, essentially replacing the controversial villain Fu Manchu -- Shang-Chi's father in the comics.
Rumors that the Mandarin would play a role in Shang-Chi's solo film first began to surface back in May. However, this marks the first official confirmation we've received that the Iron Man villain will return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Shang-Chi's debut.
While the Ten Rings -- a notorious terrorist organization -- was prominent in the Iron Man films, the Mandarin didn't make his live-action debut until Iron Man 3. And in a major twist, the Mandarin presented in that film was an actor hired by the "real" Mandarin. Ever since then, fans have been eagerly awaiting the debut of the "real" Mandarin, and now that Iron Man is gone, it appears the villain is set wreak havoc for Shang-Chi.
While it remains to be seen whether or not the film will change it so that the Mandarin is Shang-Chi's father, opting to forgo using Fu Manchu, co-creator Jim Starlin hopes Marvel Studios decides to cut Manchu from the project altogether. "I would not like to see out of Shang-Chi, and that's Fu Manchu. I'm hoping, and I'm pretty sure they're gonna cut him out of the whole thing," he said during an interview with Popcorn Talk. As of now, it would seem Starlin may very well get his wish.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, Tony Leung as the Mandarin and Awkwafina. The film arrives in theaters on February 12, 2021.