Aside from the Mandarin (Tony Leung), which villains will face the Master of Kung Fu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? The Marvel Universe – and Shang-Chi’s rogues’ gallery – is deep with villains for Marvel to choose from for his first MCU movie. The film, which is due to release in 2021, is the third film on Marvel’s Phase 4 slate.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings tells the story of one of Marvel’s greatest martial artists. In the comics, Shang-Chi is a highly trained fighter who lived a sheltered life in the home of his father, Fu Manchu, the head of a powerful criminal empire. After realizing what kind of person his father was, Shang-Chi escaped and began to experience the outside world. Along his journey, Shang-Chi was swept up in a life of espionage and forced to fight Fu Manchu’s empire. The MCU adaptation of Shang-Chi’s story will replace Fu Manchu with Iron Man’s biggest enemy, the Mandarin, as the main antagonist.
Marvel infamously faked out fans in Iron Man 3 with a Mandarin imposter, but is finally getting around to properly introducing the fan-favorite villain into the MCU. As a major villain and the leader of the Ten Rings criminal organization, Shang-Chi is sure to have his hands full in his first movie. That being said, Mandarin is unlikely to be the film’s only antagonist. After all, Shang-Chi is a martial arts movie, so multiple battles are expected. Plus, there’s no question that Mandarin will have an army of allies at his disposal for Shang-Chi to fight throughout the film. So what other Marvel villains could the titular hero face off against in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?
Centuries ago, a Chinese warrior named Shaka Kharn invented an elixir that could extend his life. He hoped to become immortal, but it was not be, as he later died in battle. In the present, he was resurrected by his descendant, Fu Manchu, who wanted Shaka Kharn to replace Shang-Chi as his greatest weapon. The resurrection process was never fully completed though, as he retained a skeletal appearance behind his armor.
Even so, the undead warrior proved to be a worthy adversary of Shang-Chi. If Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings makes use of any fantasy elements — which could happen, especially if it introduces a comic book accurate Mandarin – the ancient swordsman could make for an interesting nemesis for the main hero.
When Shang-Chi was a young boy training under Fu Manchu, his closest friend was his fellow student, M’Nai (later known as Midnight Sun), who had to wear a mask to cover his horribly disfigured face. Both boys faithfully served Fu Manchu and consider themselves to be brothers.
Things changed when Shang-Chi denounced Fu Manchu and went his own way. With their brotherly relationship severed by Shang-Chi’s betrayal, M’Nai became an enemy of Shang-Chi. After dying in their battle, he was brought back by the Kree and given cosmic powers. As a result, M’Nai transitioned into a Silver Surfer villain. Years later, M’Nai was restored to the status quo, allowing him to resume his role as a recurring foe of his “brother“, Shang-Chi.
Most of the characters in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be new to the MCU, but it could be that existing characters will be utilized as well. One MCU villain who would fit neatly into a Shang-Chi movie is Batroc the Leaper (Georges St. Pierre), a mercenary who fought Captain America in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Batroc, an expert in French kickboxing, could return to the MCU in the employ of the Mandarin. The inclusion of Batroc the Leaper would provide yet another connection between Shang-Chi and a previous MCU film. Batroc could also represent a different style of martial arts in the film. As a kung fu movie, it wouldn’t be surprising at all for Shang-Chi to have its protagonist battle practitioners of various fighting styles.
In the late 1970s, Shang-Chi battled Zaran, a self-proclaimed “master in the art of handling weapons“. Zaran, who was frequently seen brandishing a spear, is a former MI-6 agent-turned mercenary who took an assignment that put him in conflict with Shang-Chi. His skills as a hunter, which made him somewhat similar to the Spider-Man villain Kraven, enabled him to easily track down his prey.
After numerous collisions with Shang-Chi, Zaran became a member of Batroc’s group of mercenaries and started fighting other heroes like Captain America. It’s possible that Zaran could be sent by Mandarin to find Shang-Chi in the movie. Zaran would serve as an excellent opportunity for Marvel to include a well-choreographed fight scene with a spear-wielding martial artist.
Shen Kuei aka The Cat is a spy who operates in a freelance capacity. He often worked for the Chinese government, and participated in missions that put him at odds with Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi discovered that the Cat’s prowess in kung fu nearly matched his own. The two evolved into martial arts rivals and had a number of clashes in the Master of Kung Fu comic, but there were occasions where their interests were aligned. The Cat is the kind of character who could start out as a secondary antagonist in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, before switching sides and joining forces with Shang-Chi against the Mandarin.
There have been three versions of Razor Fist in the comic books and they’ve fought a long list of Marvel heroes, including Captain America, Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Wolverine, but perhaps their most important adversary is their original foe, Shang-Chi. The three incarnations of Razor Fist – William Young, Douglas Scott, and William Scott – are recognized by the bladed weapons that serve as their hands. These sword-like appendages make them incredibly deadly in close combat, but Shang-Chi always finds a way to overcome the challenge of avoiding the blades. The first two Razor Fists died shortly after their comic book debuts, but the William Scott incarnation has been around for decades as an assassin. Like Batroc and Zaran, Razor Fist could fill the role of one of Mandarin’s minions, while simultaneously providing an exciting action sequence with Shang-Chi.
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