One of the most interesting things about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is its fun interconnected nature, which helps give us those “whoa” moments when we are given callbacks to other MCU properties. A deleted scene from Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings has established such an interesting connection between the Destin Daniel Cretton directorial and the first Iron Man movie.
The connection is related to the Ten Rings organisation, a terrorist outfit that was behind Tony Stark’s kidnapping in Afghanistan. We finally met the founder of the globe-spanning criminal empire, Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), better known as the Mandarin, in Shang-Chi.
The scene has Wenwu conversing with an aide about his Afghanistan trip. He says that Raza, the head of Ten Rings’ Afghanistan operations that we saw in Iron Man (portrayed by Faran Tahir), is working on using the destabilised nature of the region on his orders.
He is then told by the aide that they have captured an Iron Gang leader. The scene is not finished, as the captured leader, when he is shown, has motion capture dots on his face. But it is anyway nice to see that connection.
Previously, Iron Man 3 was going to introduce the Mandarin played by Ben Kingsley. But it turns out Kingsley’s character was just an actor called Trevor Slattery, and the real Mandarin was still elusive. Kingsley returned as Trevor in Shang-Chi.
We finally saw the Mandarin brought to life by the legendary Leung. He was shown as an immortal being who has wreaked chaos for thousands of years. He came in conflict with his son Shang-Chi, the first Asian superhero in MCU, and was the primary villain.
Interestingly, Wenwu and Ten Rings inadvertently caused the formation of the Avengers. If they had not kidnapped Tony, he would not have used his mental faculties to forge a rudimentary battle suit and would not have perfected it to become Iron Man.
Meanwhile, Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings received mostly positive reviews. The Indian Express film critic Ektaa Malik, however, gave it a mixed review. She said in her two stars review: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was supposed to be the Asian Black Panther, and open the gates to Asian pride and denote a new form of storytelling, for its people and the region. The film could’ve been a real game changer, especially in 2021, in the aftermath of the Covid Pandemic, when hate crime against Asians is at an all-time high. Sadly, it only scratches the surface and adopts peripheral nods to acknowledge Asian culture and thought.”