'Shang-Chi' is the MCU's first live-action look at the multiverse

Shang-Chi, the Legend of the Ten Rings, is many things.
It's a significant step forward for Asian-American representations in the superhero genre. A fantastic movie that carves its path in the saturated Marvel Cinematic Universe and a showcase of everyone's favorite Marvel hero Simu Liu. For the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), buffs who have been waiting for a glimpse at the multiverse, it's also our first look.

Fans' expectations of the multiverse were high for the upcoming films Spider-Man: The Way Home and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. This transformative concept could open up the MCU and allow Disney to use all of the Marvel-associated properties. Shang-Chi's story was supposed to be limited to street-level heroes' powers. But Shang's unexpected journey took him to another universe where no MCU hero had gone before.

Shang-Chi tells the story of Wenwu (the immortal master of Ten Rings and Shang-Chi’s father). Wenwu, who is obsessed with power and money, travels to Ta Lo to meet Jiang Li, Ta Lo's guardian and eventually his wife. Jiang Li flees her homeland to marry Wenwu. They have two children, ShangChi and Xialing. She dies protecting them from Wenwu’s old enemies, The Iron Gang.

Jiang Li's story has a few key points to be aware of. First, Jiang Li is able to use Ta Lo. She is able to manipulate wind, which she uses to improve her practice of a unique wuxia-inspired martial arts. The second part is that Jiang Li joins Wenwu on the "real" planet, and she loses all her powers. The third part is when Shang-Chi, Xialing and Xialing make it to Ta Lo. They meet their auntie Ying Nan who informs them that the evil in Ta Lo must be stopped.

Ta Lo is a universe in itself, where Morris and butt-chicken dogs frolic free and the birds are always on fire.

This is the first sign that Ta Lo isn't a magical place hidden somewhere in the MCU. Ta Lo is a completely different universe, where Morris and butt-chicken dogs frolic free and the birds are always on fire. Jiang Li wasn't a human like we know, but a being of another dimension who drew power from her universe. This makes Shang-Chi & Xialing Marvel characters that are halfmultiversal.

Mid-credit in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings gives a hint about where the Ten Rings came from. They are older than any MCU characters and started acting as beacons to something after Shang-Chi began using them in the third act. This could indicate that the Ten Rings call to ancient beings such as the Eternals or that they are, like Jiang Li from another universe. It is not easy to access the watery portal to Ta Lo, but it is possible for normal people to do so. This means that other portals to the multiverse may also be hidden on Earth.

Marvel can build something as big as the multiverse in a series of TV shows, and then surprise fans by releasing a standalone origin story set in another universe. The MCU is moving towards the multiversal war promised by Loki. Shang-Chi & Xialing are now two of the most important characters in the storyline.

Imagine the moment when the most powerful people in Earth-199999 start talking about traveling to other realities, and Shang-Chi looks at them like "oh! I didn't know this was your first time." All the Phase 4 heroes need to do now is reach Shang-Chi's and Xialing’s level.

Theaters are showing Shang-Chi, the Legend of the Ten Rings.