The movie ‘Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ was a fine refreshment for the overall Marvel franchise when released in 2021. With that being said, many eyes were on the movie’s main character, Shang-Chi, as he proved himself to be an interesting hero and a valuable asset for upcoming projects in the future. On that note, let’s see how old Shang-Chi is in the movie and the comics.
Even though it is not specifically mentioned how old Shang-Chi is in the movie, by following the important events in his life, we can conclude that he is 28 years old. As for comics, he started his life away from his father when he was 19 years old, and it can be concluded that in various iterations of his character, he is never older than his early twenties.
Establishing someone’s age in a universe as vast as Marvel’s is never easy, but we managed to conclude thanks to some key information. If you want to learn about Shang-Chi’s age in more detail, stay with us until the end!
Shang-Chi’s age in the movie explained
‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ explains Shang-Chi’s childhood life and demonstrates the important events from his past that had a huge impact on the present. The movie gives us an introspective look into several different years so we can see, Shang-Chi as a toddler, as a young boy and teenager, and ultimately as a grown man.
Shang-Chi’s father explored the legend of Ta Lo in 1996, and that’s when he met his future wife, Ying Li. They lived a happy family life for around seven years because then Ying Li was killed, and Shang-Chi was seven years old when that happened. His father took him then to a gambling den to identify the perpetrators. After that, Shang-Chi’s vigorous training began, lasting around seven years.
At that point, Shang-Chi was fourteen and skillful enough to confront the best martial artists and fighters. His father sent him on his first mission then – to find a kill the man who took the life of their beloved Ying Li. Shang-Chi went on that mission, but he never returned to his father. Repulsed by everything Wenwu made him do, Shang-Chi decided to run away to San Francisco and start a new life.
And that is where we met him in the movie as a grown-up. In 2024, Shang-Chi renamed himself Shaun, and he works as a parking valet with his best friend, Katy. Following this timeline, we can conclude that Shang-Chi is 28 years old in the movie. However, it needs to be said that Wenwu mentioned he gave Shaun 10 years to live away from his organization, which would mean that Shang-Chi is 24 now, but that is not the case.
The reason for that is that the events following Thanos’s snap altered the timeline in the overall MCU a bit, so we need to be cautious and always have that in mind. One thing that is perhaps strange in the overall storyline is how it is possible that Shang-Chi still possesses all the martial arts skillset he obtained more than ten years ago if he hid that part of himself from the world and his closest friends.
Judging by the first fight on a bus where he tried to protect the pendant his mother gave him, it is fair to say that his fighting style looked like he was doing it every day. Nevertheless, now that we have calculated that Shang-Chi is 28 in the movie let’s see how old he is in the comics.
Shang-Chi spent the first 19 years of his life under his father’s influence and guidance
In the comics, the character of Shang-Chi was created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, and it first appeared in ‘Special Marvel Edition’ #15 in 1973. In that comic issue, it is revealed who Shang-Chi is, and his past is explained briefly. This martial arts expert is the son of Fu Manchu, the leader of the Five Weapons Society criminal organization, who would later become Shang-Chi’s mortal enemy.
Shang-Chi spent the first nineteen years under the guidance and training of Fu Manchu and his senseis, who molded him into a living weapon and a skillful fighter. So, when Fu Manchu sent him on his first mission, Shang-Chi was nineteen years old to kill Dr. Petrie, the man who interfered with his father’s plans. Shang-Chi did as ordered, but then he found out who his father was.
After that Shang-Chi and Fu Manchu had a falling out and became sworn enemies, unlike in the movie, Shang-Chi then went to New York, where he tried to start his new life but was followed by his childhood friend and adoptive brother, Midnight, as presented in ‘Special Marvel Edition’ #16.
Later on, Shang-Chi’s journey is depicted in ‘Master of Kung Fu’ #17, and it follows the nineteen-year-old right where the storyline left off in the ‘Special Marvel Edition’. Based on everything mentioned, it can easily be concluded that Shan-Chi is nineteen years old in the comics at first, and later on, his age is not specified, but he is never older than his late twenties, like in the movie.
Have something to add? Share your thoughts in the comments below!