Who Is Shang-Chi’s Mother & How Did She Die?


In the movie ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,’ MCU fans are introduced to the powerful Ten Rings and new heroes who will likely have much more to offer in the franchise. The main character is Shang-Chi, a skilled martial artist whose life was reshaped by a tragic event in his childhood when his mother was killed. Ying Li was undoubtedly the pillar that held the entire family together, and after her passing, everything began to crumble. On that note, let’s explore who Shang-Chi’s mother is and how she died.

Ying Li was a gatekeeper of the mystical village called Ta Lo and Shang-Chi’s mother. Eventually, she left her village when she fell in love with Wenwu and started a family with him. One day, the Iron Gang came seeking revenge for Wenwu’s sins in the past, and they killed Ying Li in the process. She was an exceptional martial artist but was outnumbered by far.

It is fair to say that everything changed the night when Ying Li was killed. Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing lost their mother, and Wenwu decided to put the Ten Rings back on his wrists. Ying Li was the only woman who convinced Wenwu to take the rings and live a normal family life for the first time in almost 1000 years. So that says a lot about her. Let’s see in more detail what we know of the brave and wise Ying Li.

Ying Li was the gatekeeper of Ta Lo, an ancient and mystical village in another dimension

Shang Chi’s father spent centuries using the power of the Ten Rings for his personal motives and gain. As the years of his conquest continued, he was never satisfied and always looked for new things to discover. Wenwu’s journey led him to the ancient and mythical city of Ta Lo, where he met Ying Li.

At the entrance to the village, Ying Li stood as a gatekeeper and the village’s protector. Her job was to shield the entrance from anyone that wished to enter the village unauthorized and potentially release the Dweller-in-Darkness, a soul-eating dragon. So, Ying Li confronted Wenwu and demonstrated how skillful and powerful of a fighter she was. Ying Li defeated Wenwu and disappeared, which left a big impression on Wenwu. Of course, that wasn’t the last time they will have seen each other.

Wenwu returned later, and he and Ying Li started to get to know each other. Ying showed him parts of his personality he did not even know existed. They fell in love eventually, but to be together, Ying Li had to give up everything, including her powers and a place in Ta Lo. The reason for that was Wenwu’s past – there was no way the villagers would accept that kind of person to live among them, as he could only corrupt the whole place.


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But it was not only Ying Li who gave up her powers so did Wenvu. For the first time in centuries, he decided to remove the Ten Rings from his arms and live a mortal life. Soon after, the two got married and had two children, Shang-Chi and Xu Xialing.

They were a happy family, and Ying Li told Shang-Chi stories about how she and Wenwu met the legend of the Ten Rings and the power bestowed upon her by the Great Protector of their village. However, when Ying Li died, everything changed for the worst, and their family started to fall apart.

How did Ying Li die in ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’?

As mentioned, Wenwu led a dangerous life and hurt many people before he met Yin Li. So, naturally, he had many enemies. The Iron Gang came to Wenwu’s home one day to seek revenge for all the damage he had caused them. Ying Li was there, training Shang-Chi with Xu Xialing near them.

Ying Li shielded her children behind her and assured the Iron Gang that her husband was a changed man now. But they did not care. They were determined that someone had to pay but decided to spare the children. Ying Li sent the kids inside the house and was ready to confront the gang members. Even though she did not have her powers anymore, her fighting skills still remained.

However, Ying Li was heavily outnumbered in the fight because she was one woman facing fifteen men, and her defeating all of them was impossible. The Iron Gang killed the brave mother, and all that Shang-Chi could do was watch from the house as that was happening.

Later that evening, Wenwu returned home and found Shang-Chi crying over Ying-Li’s dead body. Wenwu realized that he should have never taken the Rings off; all he had in mind was revenge against the Iron Gang.


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After Shang-Chi’s mother died, his father started to train him. The training was hard and ruthless, occurring daily for many years. By the time Shang-Chi was fourteen, he had become an expert martial artist and was taught how to kill men in many different ways. All that prepared him for one important mission – to kill the man who murdered his mother.

Years later, Wenwu believed that Ying Li was still alive and trapped in Ta Lo, and he had to save her. He heard voices of his wife calling him to seek after her, but it was soul eaters trapped in Ta Lo showing Wenwu his greatest desires, hoping he would use the Ten Rings to free them.

Ying Li was dead, and there was no escaping that. Shang-Chi made his peace with that, and even though the death of his mother was one of the hardest tragedies that happened to him, he decided to learn from her and take her as a role model to completely find himself and his inner peace.

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