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The Real Reason Why The Ten Rings Logo Is Changing In Shang-Chi

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" brings a new hero into the Marvel fold while recontextualizing a villain many people thought they had already seen. Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) will go head-to-head against his father Wenwu, a.k.a. The Mandarin (Tony Leung), when he decides to pursue a different path than inheriting the villainous Ten Rings organization. If some of that sounds familiar, it's because this antagonist has been around since the very beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

In the first "Iron Man," when terrorists abduct Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), they have a flag in the background. That flag depicts the 10 rings, and it was just one of the many Easter eggs in the film to hint at a larger universe out there. However, when you go back to watch "Iron Man" and then check out some clips from "Shang-Chi," you'll notice the association has undergone a redesign over the years. Marvel has changed the logo to keep specific markets happy.

To avoid further controversy, the Mongolian script was changed to Chinese characters

Variety spoke with production designer Dianne Chadwick, who worked on the first "Iron Man" movie and came up with the initial Ten Rings design. The logo consisted of 10 rings circling an image of two swords crossed over one another. Each ring contained a piece of Mongolian script, denoting a different tribe, which some thought was disrespectful to the culture. The controversy reemerged with "Iron Man 3" when the fake-Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) took on a more prominent role, with the Mongolian government sending an official letter of complaint to Marvel Studios for connecting their culture with a terrorist organization.

For "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," the new logo consists of 10 rings, each containing a different piece of Chinese script. Instead of signifying tribes, the characters all relate to power and strength. On the redesign, Chadwick said, "Of course we tried very hard not to offend anyone; we are creating for a worldwide audience."

However, now the redesign courts its own controversy. Last year, China began massive crackdowns on anything related to Mongolian culture (via The Diplomat). Former Mongolian minister of culture, Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, changed her opinion due to the threat of losing all that Mongolia has offered the world. She stated, "My complaint was the kind that a happy child makes about just having bread but not cake on the table. When even the bread disappears, everything looks good, even a terrorist logo. I wish Marvel had stood firm on its use of Mongolian script. I want the world to use it — any movie, in any way."

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" arrives in theaters on September 3, 2021.