It seems that Jonathan Schwartz, producer of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is one of the few people who knows how the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe fits into the timeline of events that have already unfolded. That doesn't mean he is going to spill all his secrets before the movie arrives and cinemagoers can get the chance to see for themselves.
The Ten Rings have already had a place in the MCU, being referenced way back in Iron Man's solo outings, and Shang-Chi looks to expand on the history of the Rings, but in interviews, Schwartz has found himself walking a tightrope in trying to make it known that the film will link to the grander Marvel story but not give away anything that may bring down the wrath of Marvel boss Kevin Feige in the process.
Between the plot synopsis and the trailers releases, there are a lot of conflicting scenes and locations and many gaps to fill in terms of how they all fit together. An origin movie is always going to come with a number of anomalies, but as we have already seen, there are also a few familiar faces making an appearance in the movie, and of course we have a post credit scene that "is worth sticking around for." So far, much of the promotional material has been all about the well-choreographed martial arts fights and Shang-Chi himself, and according to Schwartz that is just how it should be.
"Part of what excited us about the movie is, yes, it's a new characte. Yes, it's an origin story. But there are many organic ways to make it feel like this movie's always been in the fabric of the MCU, and sort of turning that timeline back and kind of understanding what was happening to [Shang-Chi's father] Wenwu and the Ten Rings along the way was a really fun exercise we got to do."
Referring to the movie as "the story of the Ten Rings" as well as Shang-Chi himself is something that seems to fit with many of the other small bits of information to come from the recent round of interviews and soundbites leading up to the film's release. One of the other Shang-Chi producers said in an interview that there was a design element connection between the Ten Rings and the Infinity Gauntlet. With so many pieces in place, one of the big questions remaining is exactly where all this sits in terms of the current known timeline and whether it will also link in with the next upcoming MCU offering of Eternals.
"I mean, I'm able to tell you, but I'm not able to tell you," Schwartz laughed. "I think we'll make it official one of these days." He also mentioned the history of the Ten Rings in the MCU, particularly how they were able to reference the connections to Iron Man and Iron Man 3 in particular. "We did talk about it," Schwartz admitted. "There actually is footage from other MCU movies in Shang-Chi -- Easter eggs, if you look very, very closely. But it came down to what was best for the story, what we need to know about the Ten Rings to enjoy this story, and making sure that that was presented in the right way to the audience."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrives in theaters tomorrow with some high expectations on how it will fare at the box office.