It’s an old joke among fans – how do you spot a Marvel fan in a movie theatre? They’re the last ones to leave the cinema. And there’s a reason for that particular behaviour. If there’s one thing that sets the Marvel Cinematic Universe films apart, it’s their long tradition of post-credits scenes. And of course, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is no exception to the rule.
In fact, the film features two scenes and both include a good deal of important information for the future of the franchise. Also about the characters in the film and how they will interact with the rest of the heroes of the saga. Surprisingly, both sequences complete a central idea that was subtly raised in the film. The ten titular rings of the film are more than just ancestral relics. They are also part of some kind of unknown artefact that will be of central interest in Marvel’s next adventures.
As is often the case, the first post-credits scene occurs after the introduction of the main cast. The second comes after the long succession of names of the film’s integral crew. So stay in your seat because both scenes are of paramount importance to understanding the central themes of the film.
First post-credits scene: a new mystery to solve
After their battle against the Ten Rings organisation, Shang-Chi (Simu Lu) and Katy (Awkwafina) return to San Francisco. In the first post-credits scene of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the two can be seen telling a couple of friends what happened. And just as he is about to detail how Xialing, the hero’s sister, will be charged with destroying her father’s criminal legacy, Wong appears. And he does it Sorcerer Supreme style. A golden portal opens in the middle of the restaurant, from which Wong asks them to accompany them to the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Once there, the sequence cuts to a reunion that includes Bruce Banner and Captain Marvel from a holographic projection. The curious thing is that Banner looks human again (though his arm is in a sling) and Captain has long hair. That could indicate how much time has passed since Avengers: Endgame (or at any rate, how much time we can assume has passed), as well as other details of interest.
Does the fact that Bruce Banner regained his form mean anything for the future events of the She-Hulk series? As you may recall, in the comic the She-Hulk character ends up receiving his powers after a blood transfusion from his cousin. Does Banner looking normal mean he has managed to control the transformation? Or did he lose the ability to do so again?
Captain Marvel’s appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is also very striking. Time seems to have passed differently for her, so one wonders what has happened: is the character aware of the existence of multiverses and has she travelled through them? Is it possible that the journey has jumped between timelines? The scene does not make this clear.
The sequence also discusses the origin and material of the ten rings that now belong to Shang- Chi. Everyone agrees that they have never seen anything like it. And in fact, at one point, it is implied that the rings are much older than they appear to be. As if that wasn’t enough, they also seem to be receiving a signal from somewhere in the Universe. From whom? What for?
Second post-credits scene: a new villain
As Shang- Chi tried to tell it, his sister Xialing took it upon herself to destroy her father’s organisation. The second post-credits scene shows this and makes it clear that Mandarin’s daughter has an additional objective.
The scene from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings shows that Xialing is the new leader of the organisation she renamed and seems intent on expanding. So it is clear that in the future the two brothers will end up at odds with each other. Is Xialing the next great villain?