At its heart, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a story about a family driven apart and then ultimately forced back together under much different circumstances by the same tragedy, albeit one with explosive action sequences, mystical MacGuffins and plenty of CGI bombast.
Tony Leung’s Wenwu only became harder on his children following the death of their mother, with Simu Liu’s title hero and Meng’er Zhang’s Xia Xialing reacting to the loss by fleeing to opposite ends of the world to start a new life away from their overbearing and power-hungry old man.
Inevitably, the distant siblings end up reconnecting to put a stop to their father’s plans, but in a new interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, director Destin Daniel Cretton revealed that one of the early ideas saw Shang-Chi growing up with a brother instead; one who harbored a dark secret of his own.
“I mean, at one point, there was a moment when Shang-Chi had a brother that was left behind with Dad rather than a sister. That was early on. And there’s inspirations from the comics for that character. And I think the brother, like, turned into a monster at one point.”
We got enough monsters and demons in the bloated third act climax as it is, so it was definitely the smartest move to drop the brother who could turn into a monster at the expense of a sister who can’t. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has some of the best fight sequences in the MCU and major implications for Phase Four, but the narrative never loses sight of the family drama, something that wouldn’t have been guaranteed were the CGI sibling to make the final draft.