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The Katy Theory That Would Change Everything About Shang-Chi

Marvel's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" was a massive hit with both critics and fans, garnering a 92% fresh critic score and a 98% fresh fan score on Rotten Tomatoes, along with earning over $430 million worldwide. The film introduces complex and interesting new characters to the MCU in Shang-Chi (Simu Liu), his sister Xialing (Meng'er Zhang), and his childhood best friend, Katy Chen (Awkwafina), as they track down Shang-Chi's father Wenwu (Tony Leung), a.k.a. the Mandarin, and the Ten Rings organization. The success of the film has been attributed to many different things, including special effects, excellent martial arts scenes, and a certain soulfulness amongst other things, according to some critics.

However, what drew a lot of fan support wasn't special effects, but the relationships between characters in the film, especially Katy and Shang-Chi. "Shang-Chi" quickly establishes that the two have been best friends for a long time, and it can easily be seen through banter, jokes, and a willingness to be there for one another — whether that's Shang-Chi spending time with Katy's family, or Katy insisting that she come with Shang-Chi (or Shaun, as she knows him) to confront his father. But according to a new fan theory on Reddit, this relationship may be more complicated than it seems, and if true, this theory would change everything for both characters.

What if Shang-Chi killed Katy's grandfather?

During the events of the film, it is revealed that Shang-Chi was sent by his father to assassinate the man who killed his mother — seemingly one of the members of the Iron Gang. In telling Katy about this time, Shang-Chi initially lies about actually killing the man, only to reveal before the film's final battle that he did, in fact, kill his mother's murderer. Shang-Chi professes the guilt that he feels about it to Katy, but what if that guilt is deeper than just taking the life of someone else? What if there's something Shang-Chi doesn't tell Katy because it has to do with her?

User akavina on Reddit states, "I believe Katy is the granddaughter of the Iron Gang leader and the guilt [Shang-Chi] felt from taking her grandfather, and the grief that caused the family (much like the grief his family felt at the loss of their mother, Li) caused him to commit to make amends for the rest of his life." They went on to note that it would make sense as to why Shang-Chi is shown to care much for Katy's grandmother in "Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," initially out of sheer guilt for taking the life of her husband. Multiple fans, including user Nelifelerak, called for evidence to this theory possibly being true, as they believed Shang-Chi and Katy are friends simply "because they are similarly goofy and get along."

The timeline fits almost exactly, and if true, it could come up in a sequel

User akavina went further to note possible clues, including how the timeline of Shang-Chi committing the assassination and becoming Katy's friend fits nearly perfectly with the death of her grandfather. User Nyckboy mentioned that this was also their theory, given the same context in the film, and user slackator commented that it was exactly what they thought was going to be revealed at some point in the film but never was. It's clear that a lot of fans have similar thoughts of this Katy connection with the Iron Gang, which might also explain her affinity for archery during the latter half of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

Although this ends up never being revealed in the first film, Marvel is seemingly moving forward with a second "Shang-Chi" installment, so it is certainly a possible future conflict that could come up. User Kimeako mentioned that it would be interesting to see how it would "test their friendship," noting that it could lead to a physical battle and reconciliation between them. Hopefully, we will get a better idea about the possibility of this being true once more information about the second film is released.

Some fans strongly disagree with the theory

Although there is a lot supporting this theory, many fans on Reddit are against the possibility of Shang-Chi having killed Katy's grandfather. User trainwreck42 said that they couldn't agree with this theory because it would "make more sense" that Shang-Chi simply didn't want Katy to think less of him for taking a life, which is why he initially lies about following through with assassinating his mother's killer. They went on to say that Shang-Chi tells Katy the truth because he realizes that he might have to kill again, this time it being his own father.

User SplitableStructure also supported this opposing view to the theory, noting that it would be a poor move on Marvel's part for fans, as it's nice to see two people know each other simply by chance rather than there "always being a thread." They went on to say that it would especially do a disservice to Katy's plot line in the film of "never finding an aim for herself and realizing that there's no special plan." Either way, other users like StoneGoldX think Katy's "immediate mastery" of Ta Lo weapons is certainly suspicious.

Whether this theory is revealed to be true in a later installment or not, fans have proven that there certainly is context in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" that could point to Shang-Chi having possibly killed Katy's grandfather.