Shang-Chi's Ten Rings Will Return In Armor Wars - MCU Theory Explained

Though the Ten Rings from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may continue to live on in a sequel, there's a reason the organization should also return in Armor Wars. Announced at San Diego Comic-Con in 2019, Shang-Chi shows actor Simu Liu becoming the titular Master of Kung Fu. In the new Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Shang-Chi lives in San Fransisco, hiding from his father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), the leader of the Ten Rings, a nefarious Marvel terrorist organization. Inevitably, the Ten Rings eventually find and attack Shang-Chi. Thinking his estranged sister, Xialing (Meng'er Zhang), is also in danger, Shang-Chi heads to Macau, where he discovers she's in charge of a famous fight club called the Golden Daggers. The pair learn that their father secretly orchestrated their reunion, hoping they can help him rescue their mother, Ying Li (Fala Chen). However, Ying Li died when Shang-Chi was a child, so he's skeptical of his father's plan. In the end, a dark entity tricked Wenwu into thinking Ying Li was alive, and his efforts cost him his life.

Marvel's comics already give a glimpse of what to expect in Armor Wars. The "Armor Wars" comic book plot revolved around Tony Stark's concerns about his armor falling into the wrong hands. However, given the tragic fate of Robert Downey Jr.'s character in Avengers: Endgame, a completely faithful comic book adaptation isn't an option. So instead, it's presumed that Don Cheadle's Rhodey/War Machine will take on Iron Man's story, trying to keep Stark's technology from becoming weaponized now that its creator is gone. The series could also provide unique opportunities for other MCU actors from the previous Iron Man films. For instance, Justin Hammer's involvement in the comic version of "Armor Wars" could lead to Sam Rockwell's return in the show. Rockwell previously played the villainous Justin Hammer in the Iron Man sequel.

Related: Shang-Chi Unintentionally Calls Out The Oldest Star Wars Plot Hole

Given the Ten Rings' story in Shang-Chi, fans can expect to see more of the group in the MCU's future. However, while there's room to explore the new path of the Ten Rings in a Shang-Chi sequel, the organization is much bigger than a single movie or character. For example, Ten Rings has links to Iron Man going back to the start of the MCU. So, besides Shang-Chi 2Armor Wars could provide a perfect opportunity for the Ten Rings to return. The organization's return could be an ideal way to honor Iron Man's legacy and move the MCU forward.

The Ten Rings has a complex history in the MCU. Wenwu built his power thousands of years ago after finding ten magical rings that granted him superhuman abilities and unnaturally long life. His organization took its name after the magic weapon and spread its influence over the centuries. The organization grew and grew, operating in different cells and putting itself at the forefront of deals involving cutting-edge technology and weaponry. The Ten Rings even had a presence in 2015's Ant-Man, teaming up with Hydra to purchase the Yellowjacket suit. While Wenwu, the organization's legendary and immortal leader, finally meets his end in Shang-Chi, the Ten Rings' MCU story is far from over.

The Shang-Chi ending creates big questions and teases a new future for the Ten Rings. Xialing previously started the Golden Daggers after her father wouldn't let her into his Ten Rings empire; however, with Wenwu out of the way, she's free to take over. In a Shang-Chi post-credit scene, Xialing heads up the Ten Rings, saying, "Let's get started. We have a lot of work to do." Xialing's revamped Ten Rings is already training an army of female assassins, and Marvel's film teased in an ending message that "the Ten Rings will return." The organization should be back in a Shang-Chi sequel, but one movie isn't enough to contain Xialing and her big ideas. After all, she monetized a wildly popular underground fight club when she was only a teenager. The club even draws big Marvel names like Abomination (Tim Roth) and Wong (Benedict Wong). With her ambition, her father's contacts, and the organization's relationships with other groups such as Hydra, there's no telling where it will go.

The Ten Rings has deep ties to Iron Man. The organization first appeared in 2008's Iron Man, with a cell in Afghanistan kidnapping Tony Stark at the behest of Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges). The group's love of weapons is immediately on display. After capturing Stark, they forced him to assemble his prized Jericho missile. Still, the genius, billionaire, philanthropist outsmarts his captors by building the first Iron Man suit with the help of fellow prisoner Ho Yinsen (Shaun Toub). But the Ten Rings wasn't done with Stark just yet. The organization appears again in Iron Man 3, with Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) posing as the fake Ten Rings leader and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) secretly pulling strings behind the scenes. However, the Ten Rings' actual leader didn't appreciate the ruse, and Wenwu eventually took Slattery captive.

Related: Shang-Chi's Villain Problem Highlights The MCU's Hardest Job After Thanos

Armor Wars sets up a perfect return for the Ten Rings. The Marvel comic's version of "Armor Wars" has already appeared somewhat in the MCU, with Tony Stark realizing that his weapons had fallen into the wrong hands in Iron Man. In the case of that film, those wrong hands belonged to the Ten Rings, so it'd make sense for the organization to return. The Ten Rings is all about leading the way when it comes to cutting-edge weapons and technology, and now one less troublesome person is standing in its path. If any group is out to take advantage of Tony Stark's death and steal his tech, it'd be the Ten Rings. After all, Xialing's Ten Rings operatives aren't sitting by idly. As their leader says, the organization has "a lot of work to do."

With the Ten Rings' deep ties to the Iron Man films, a return in Armor Wars seems inevitable. If not for the organization, Stark wouldn't have built the Iron Man suit in the first place. So it makes sense the group would want to claim his tech for itself. The Ten Rings' search for weapons should carry it into Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and beyond. However, Marvel can't ignore the Ten Rings' unique history with Stark and his technology. If the Ten Rings shows up in Armor Wars, Rhodey could have the chance to honor his friend's memory and legacy by keeping his tech safe. Though Tony Stark is gone, the Ten Rings continues. But there's good news for the rest of the MCU: Rhodey will ensure Iron Man's spirit continues too.

More: The MCU Just Proved Captain Marvel Can Replace Iron Man

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