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Did Shang-Chi Just Confirm Dragons For The MCU's Future?

Contains spoilers for "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings"

"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" has finally hit theaters. The hotly anticipated film has been enjoying strong reviews from critics and massive amounts of hype surrounding its status as the first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film to feature an Asian lead and predominantly Asian cast. There's also the fact that it's the first MCU Phase 4 feature film to have a strong focus on introducing brand new characters and lore to the sprawling franchise.

Shang-Chi's (Simu Liu) journey from son of a powerful warlord to San Francisco valet to slayer of ancient supernatural evils (with some help from his comrades, of course) is one that unlocks whole swaths of previously untapped resources from the Marvel Comics. Major figures like the actual Mandarin (Tony Leung) and concepts like the Ten Rings themselves are either introduced or significantly fleshed out compared to their previous MCU mentions. Leading up to the film's release, fans also had their eye on whether or not another big branch of lore from the comics would be significantly expanded on: dragons.

Now, dragons have made appearances in the MCU previously — Thor (Chris Hemsworth) fights one in "Thor: Ragnarok" — but those only scratched the surface compared to how they feature in the comics. Does "Shang-Chi" set the stage for the MCU entering a dragon age? Let's examine.

Does Shang-Chi incorporate Marvel's dragon lore?

In the world of Marvel Comics, there is an abundance of lore surrounding the concept of dragons. However, there are a few notable bits that theoretically would be an immediate go-to for "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

The first is a character named Fin Fang Foom, an extraterrestrial being known as a Makluan that has the appearance of what we earthlings would call a dragon (and can shapeshift as is necessary). In the lore of the comics, Fin Fang Foom arrived on earth in ancient China from his homeworld of Kakaranthara and appeared in a variety of influential capacities throughout the ages. Eventually, he's awoken in modern times by none other than the Mandarin.

What's more, the Ten Rings are Makluan in origin in the comics. This would seem to be the most obvious way for "Shang-Chi" to bring significant dragon lore or Fin Fang Foom himself into the MCU. However, that's not quite how the movie played things. While there certainly are dragons present in the film — The Great Protector being the most obvious example — the possibility of Fin Fang Foom making an appearance was debunked before the movie even came out and the origin of the Ten Rings officially remains a mystery as far as the MCU is concerned.

So, while "Shang-Chi" did leave the door open for more dragons in the MCU, it didn't exactly usher in the deep lore from the comics. Fans of this particular narrative thread will have to keep their eyes peeled on future installments to see if they get incorporated.