Is Shang-Chi Immortal? The Power of the Ten Rings in the MCU Explained

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Despite the fact that some fans claim that the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t what it used to be since the Infinity Saga concluded in 2019, many of them also agree that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a gem that added something new and fresh to this ever-growing franchise. The movie not also introduced the first Asian superhero to the franchise, but it also gave us a proper Mandarin villain after Iron Man 3 basically pranked us with him in 2013.

The fans praised Simu Liu’s performance as the titular hero. While we don’t know what will be his next step in the franchise, it’s for sure that his movie established not only him as one of the key members of the MCU’s roster but also made his set of Ten Ancient Rings (that are worn as bracelets) very important for whatever we’re about to see in the future of the franchise.

As we know from the movie, before Shang-Chi became the Ten Rings owner, his father, Xu Wenwu, also known as Mandarin, owned that ancient set. The history of Xu Wenwu tells us that he was the first to discover the rings about a thousand years ago. The rings gave him unparalleled power and immortality, helping him become one of the greatest warlords of the millennium. While there is a lot more to say about this, there is one question we asked ourselves right after Shang-Chi inherited the rings from his father; Is Shang-Chi now immortal?

Shang-Chi is human, which automatically means he’s not immortal by himself. Still, the power of the Ten Rings, which holds a unique power, also prolongs the wielders’ life to the level of immortality. However, Shang-Chi is as vulnerable as any other human when he is not wearing the rings. Xu Wenwu’s life was prolonged for a thousand years while he was using the rings, and while he also wore them when Dweller-in-Darkness attacked him, he still sacrificed himself by passing the rings to his son, knowing that without the power of the rings, he would die.

The differences between the comics and the movie regarding the Ten Rings

ten rings comics movie

Before we continue, just a little disclaimer. When we’re talking about the Ten Rings, we are referring to the ancient set of rings that Xu Wenu discovered, not the organization of the same name that he also founded during that time.

While Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings were well received by fans and critics, some die-hard source material connoisseurs pointed out that The Ten Rings is not actually the same as the Mandarin’s rings from the comics. The first difference that is the easiest to spot is that the rings from the comics are literally rings that the wielder wears on each finger. On the other hand, the film version is presented as a set of ten bracelets, of which the wielder wears five on each hand. In the comics, each of those ten rings has a specific name and a specific power, while the rings from the movie look all the same as they’re used together when used as a weapon.

What is the origin of the Ten Rings?

The Ten Rings we’re discussing now haven’t always been known as “the Ten Rings.” Mandarin’s rings were first created by Stan Lee and Don Heck and introduced in Tales of Suspense #50 in February 1964. The rings introduced in the comics were described as a piece of Makluan technology, and Mandarin discovered them on a crashed Makluan spaceship. Mandarin used the discovered rings to become the conqueror that wanted to achieve world domination, eventually leading him into a conflict with his archnemesis Iron Man.

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Mandarin’s rings were called “the Ten Rings” in the Shang-Chi movie in 2021. Following that, they were re-introduced in the comics in Shang-Chi Vol 2 #11 in April 2022. The rings were described as one of the Five Sets of Heavenly Weapons of Ta-Lo. The other four sets are One Hammer, Two Swords, Three Staffs, and Nine Daggers.

As for their MCU counterpart, the origin of the Ten Rings is pretty much a mystery. The mid-credit scene of the movie shows us Shang-Chi and his friend Katy meeting Wong, Bruce Banner, and Carol Danvers as they’re trying to discover more about that mystical set. The known trio couldn’t discover what the rings are even made of, but they discovered that the rings are some kind of beacon that sends to message somewhere, although we don’t know where. This kind of opened the way for we going to find out more about the Rings in the future of the MCU, and what’s more, Shang-Chi basically earned his own invitation to become an Avenger in this scene.

When we’re going to see Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings in the MCU again?

It’s known that Marvel Cinematic Universe is an ever-growing franchise, and the first Shang-Chi movie only introduced the titular hero and his signature weapon. Shang-Chi 2 is currently in development, and we are expected to see Simu Liu in the MCU in more projects, particularly in crossover movies. The upcoming movie Avengers: The Kang Dynasty is directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, who directed the first Shang-Chi movie and is set to write and direct its own sequel. In short, plenty of Shang-Chi and his Ten Rings are to come.

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