Every Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster comes burdened with at least one credits scene, five if you’re James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, so audiences have become accustomed to sticking around until the very end. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings contains two stingers that are equally exciting, yet wildly different in terms of what they’re setting up for the future.
The first sees Simu Liu’s title hero welcomed into the fold by Wong, Captain Marvel and Bruce Banner, confirming him as the franchise’s latest Avenger. The second finds his estranged sister Xu Xialing going back on her word to disband her father’s organization and assuming control of the Ten Rings, who will return to the MCU in the future.
That sets up both another round of sibling rivalry for a Shang-Chi sequel, while also giving the Ten Rings the narrative freedom to operate in the background of the shared mythology in any number of projects. Not only that, but the final card reads “the Ten Rings will return” and not “Shang-Chi will return”, which is a deviation from the standard formula.
In a new interview, Kevin Feige said that we shouldn’t read too much into Shang-Chi’s omission from the ending, but he did tease that we haven’t seen the last of the Ten Rings by any means.
“I think you’re reading too much into it. You’re reading a little much into it. That doesn’t mean Shang-Chi won’t return. I think the tag before that is pretty clear. It’s more about that, spoilers, I guess, that last tag. To say that the organization perhaps is not as defunct as Shang-Chi thought it was going to be. And it’s actually not the white words on a black card. Destin Daniel Cretton did a very cool graphic for that phrase at the end of this movie.”
The Ten Rings have been part of the MCU since Iron Man, so it’s certainly a curious proposition for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to set them up for a brand new arc, instead of bringing a thirteen-year subplot to a close.