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Who Is The Villain In Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings?

After having its entire 2020 slate delayed last year by the COVID-19 pandemic, Marvel Studios is finally resuming its ongoing expansion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe this year. The recent launches of its first-ever Disney+ original shows have seen the studio introducing viewers to important new characters and organizations for the first time, while simultaneously continuing to explore and further develop many pre-existing MCU characters. Now, the studio is set to release its first feature film since 2019's "Spider-Man: Far From Home" next month in the form of the Scarlett Johansson-led "Black Widow," an MCU prequel set before the events of "Avengers: Infinity War” and "Avengers: Endgame."

"Black Widow" isn't the only film that Marvel Studios is releasing this year either. Indeed, following that film's release will be the theatrical debut of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" in September. The upcoming film will follow its titular protagonist (played by Simu Liu) as he is forced to reckon with his mysterious past after finding himself forcibly drawn into the powerful web of the legendary Ten Rings organization. The film's story will see Shang-Chi crossing paths with Marvel comics villains like Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) and Death Dealer, but neither of those characters are expected to play quite as big a role in "Legend of the Ten Rings" as Tony Leung's Wenwu aka The Mandarin.

Meet Shang-Chi's Wenwu a.k.a. The Mandarin

The father of Simu Liu's Shang-Chi and the leader of the Ten Rings organization, Wenwu is set to serve as the central antagonist of "Legend of the Ten Rings." The character was created specifically for the MCU in the hopes of avoiding many of the problematic and controversial stereotypes present in the Marvel comics versions of both Shang-Chi's father and The Mandarin. In other words, he's an original MCU creation inspired by different characters and elements from the Marvel comics.

Wenwu is featured prominently throughout the first trailer for "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," and his relationship with his son promises to be one of the film's key sources of conflict. In addition to improving his origins and overall characterization, Marvel Studios also chose to substitute The Mandarin's powerful 10 rings from the comics for 10 armbands, which seem to glow blue and cling to Wenwu's arms when activated in the film. Marvel has yet to reveal what the armbands actually do for Wenwu, but it seems safe to say that they'll just make him that much more dangerous and formidable of an antagonist for his son to face.

Combine his clear physical capabilities with the power granted to him as leader of the Ten Rings, and Wenwu has all the potential to be one of Marvel's most memorable screen villains to date. Of course, the fact that he's also the father of Shang-Chi just makes his status as a villain that much more interesting and complex.