Before we begin be careful for spoilers if you have not seen the movie yet. We will be talking about the ending and everything that happened in Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings movie.
1.Extra Dimensional Cosmic Entity
So at the end of the movie “Wenwu The mandarin” finally realizes that the voice that’s been speaking to him through the ten rings this whole time isn’t his dead wife and Michelle Yeoh’s character; the sister of Shang-Chi’s mother had been telling him the truth about the soul eaters and the extra-dimensional creature that they call the Dweller in Darkness who is the real main villain of the film.
The dweller in Darkness is actually one of the fear lords in Marvel Universe. They’re the beings that prey on the fear of others. They’re like cosmic beings that eat fear, but in the context of the movie it is just said that it is a creature from a different dimension that came into the dimension of TAO LAO(other dimension) where her people come from and started to consume all the souls of their dimension before it would then come to the main MCU Dimension and eat everyone’s souls there.
Tao Lao is confirmed to be in a different dimension; that’s what happens when they enter through the waterfall. They basically crossed through a dimensional portal. Even though this isn’t related to the iron fist fist mythology it’s a little bit like the idea of KunLun in a different dimension; “the capital cities of heaven.”
The dimension that the Dweller in Darkness comes from is called Evergreen. He’s also one of the elder gods like Cthon and Demogorge,The god eater.
3.Mind Controlling People Over Centuries
In the comics just as in the movie; one of his big tricks was to telepathically manipulate people. Wenwu was vulnerable to this telepathic manipulation as he was speaking to him as the voice of his dead wife. trying to trick him and other people into helping it escape. It had done this many times over the centuries. A voice had been calling them promising them lies. It’s what lies behind the dragon scale gate that was erected by The Great Protector. The people of the village in this dimension of Tao Loa are living there to protect the rest of their dimension as well as the main MCU dimension from this thresat of the dweller in darkness and they’ve been doing it for the past 4000 years.
4.Dweller in Darkness Look
The reason why he looks a little more Cthulhu in the comics (he has the squid head with tentacles) is because Jerry Conway in the comics created him to be marvel’s version of the Cthulhu; obviously they went with a slightly different direction for the character in the movie. After Wenwu sacrifices himself to save Shang-Chi from the Dweller in the Darkness he passes the ten rings to him then gets his soul sucked out so he’s perma-dead and so was their mother if that wasn’t clear.All that stuff about his soul being trapped behind the gate was a lie told by the Dweller in Darkness.
5.Dragonball Kamehameha Reference
Shang-Chi uses the ten rings to destroy the Dweller in the darkness using a legit finishing move; he goes full “dragonball”. katy calls it a “kamehameha” during the movie. If you’re not a big dragonball fan or anime fan, the kamehameha was like the first type of energy power up to attack depicted on that franchise and it kind of the precursoe to the super saiyan power-ups and drgaonball Z later.
Maybe they’ll make more “Goku” references to him about when he harnesses the full power of the great protector dragon more in future sequels and if it wasn’t clear the reason why his energy is yellow instead of blue like his father’s is because his energy is the same colour as the energy his mother gave off when she was using the ten rings at the beginning of the movie.
6.Great Protector- Celestial From Another Dimension
When Wenwu The Mandarin’s backstory was being explained she said that her power was a gift from the great protector dragon and I think it works the same way the Peter Quill’s Celestial Powers work. When he was in proximity to Ego The Living Planet he could form things around himself; he could give off celestial energy attacks but when he’s not near ego he seems more like a normal person. It is never fully explained during the Shang-Chi movie. I think they’ll get into it more in the sequels but my theory is right now they are able to draw on the power of the great protector dragon because it’s like a demigod from their dimension ( like another type of celestial being the same way Ego The Living Planet is inside the MCU) and these people in the Tao Lao village are it’s descendants many hundreds of thousands of years removed.
The way they narrate the backstory of the fight between The dweller in Darkness and the great protector dragon just makes it sound like it’s a celestial being from their dimension.
7.”You have a heart of the Great Protector Dragon”
Shang-Chi’s mother; when he was a young boy tells him ” you have a heart of the great protector dragon”. I think that’s both a metaphor and also literally. It is presumed he has some of the same DNA as the Great Protector Dragon the way that Peter Quill has celestial DNA in him and that’s why Shang-chi is able to wield it’s energy like that. This also gets into the origin of the ten rings and how they actually work inside the MCU; more on that in a second when we get to the mid-credit scene with Wong,Hulk and Captain Marvel because that’s basically all about the power of the ten rings
8.Killing The Dweller in Darkness
They seemingly kill the Dweller in Darkness even though it was created from the manifestation of people’s fears and you can’t kill fear but in the MCU I think they just wanted to it to be an extra-dimensional being like Dormammu, and if Dr. Strange got a significant power up the way he did during what-If episode 4; like if he went full evel Dr. Strange he could become powerful enough to kill Dormammu. So you can kill beings that powerful you just need more power yourself.
9.Shang-Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings Mid Credit Scene
What happens to Trevor at the end of the movie is not completely explained but I believe they just let him go back to the main MCU dimension on earth and go free when Shang-Chi, Katy and his sister went back to San-Francisco although his sister goes back to his father’s compound. Getting to the mid credit scene he and Katy are having dinner with the same friends from the beginning of the movie who were giving them a hard time about not living up to their potential and they’re telling their story about the adventure of the movie without missing any beats because remember this world knows about aliens and Thanos with his infinity gauntlet.
Even at the beginning of the movie the same friend is the one who references “The Snap” so it’s not weird to have conversations like that anymore but their friends still don’t believe about going to a different dimension in Tao Lao until Wong shows up opening a portal into the middle of the restaurant and starts yelling for Shang-Chi and telling him to bring the ten rings and for both of them to come for an avengers meeting inside the sanctum. Wong steals one of their drinks one the way out real quick; he does like to have his fun as we see later after the mid-credit scene taking a trip to Hotel California.
But if it wasn’t clear the room where this meeting is happening with all the books is the library at the sanctum which is why I say this scene is happening before the events of the Spider-Man No Way Home trailer ( no giant snow drifts all over the place).
Wong is holding an advanced zoom call meeting with the Hulk who has completely changed back into Banner from Professor Hulk. His right arm is still in a sling so it’s still all gipy; permanently damaged it seems but aside from the infinity gauntlet arm he seems pretty normal and healthy otherwise. Captain Marvel has her same costume from Avengers Endgame but she’s grown her hair out long again since the events of endgame so a little bit of time has gone by.
They’re using the same type of technology that was used in Avengers Endgame for the conference call because Captain Marvel is still in the Kree-Skrull part of the universe. Wong says the reason why he called this avengers meeting is because when Shang-Chi used his ten rings to kamehameha the Dweller in Darkness, Wong says that everyone in Kamar Taj; He, Dr. Strange, all the sorcerers in the main MCU dimension felt it and when he says they felt it he means they sensed and incredible cosmic power was being used. For example, when Thanos, The Hulk or Ironman were using the infinity gauntlet.
12.Ten Rings Not From Main MCU Dimension
Wong says that there are no records of the ten rings in any of the sanctum’s codex; they keep records of all magical artifacts and items in their universe so that confirms that the ten rings comes form another dimension and bringing it around back to they way Shang-Chi and his mother were able to use their Great Protector energy to wield the ten rings in a more powerful way than Wenwu did.
I think the movie from Michelle Yoeh’s character was implied the ten rings came from her people’s home dimension of Tao Lao even though she doesn’t clearly explain that to Shan-Chi. He asked her what the ten rings have to do with any of what’s going on but she launches into that big exposition dump explaining the history of her people from that other dimension of Tao Lao. During that speech she never mentions the ten rings again; she just talks about the war between them and the Dweller in Darkness and how the Great Protector Dragon showed up to help them
13.Legend of the Ten Rings Story
At the beginning of the movie it is actually Shang-Chi’s mother who’s narrating the story of the ten rings for him. She talks about the legend of the rings
Shang-Chi, there are many things you need to learn about the ten rings but some will come later.
During that she says the legend of how The Mandarin found the ten rings changes over time; some people say that he found them in a crater, some say he found them in a cave. Those are just references to the original Ironman Comic book version of The Mandarin and how he found the ten rings inside the valley of the sleeping dragon.
In the comics the rings themselves were actually just devices to power the Makluans spaceship which crashed and that’s how the ten rings wound up on planet earth. In the MCU they are doing something different with the rings; using the avengers technology to study it the Hulk says that they’re basically older than anything that Wong and Dr. Strange’s book have records of. Michelle Yeaoh’s character did say that her people came to the village about 4000 years ago and it seems like they live natural lifespans but are genuinely humanoid with some DNA from The Great Protector celestial being perhaps.
15.Signal Being Broadcasted From The Ten Rings
Then they pull a big zoom and enhance on the ten rings themselves and find out at the atomic level it has started emitting a signal when Shang-Chi used them to kill the Dweller in Darkness but they have no idea who the beacon is broadcasting to, only that someone super ancient and powerful from the comics is listening for that beacon. Someone who would have been old enough to have created the rings who are at least eternals-level old meaning they’re about seven thousand years old.
16.Yellow Energy of Shang-Chi’s Ten Rings
I know a lot of people after the movie were trying to connect this scene to the eternals characters but I think it’s setting up something different in the future for Avengers 5 because Shang-Chi’s yellow energy is a different colour entirely than the eternal celestial energy and the eternals are from the main mcu dimension. the Ten rings, The Great Protector Dragon, Shang-Chi’s energy are all from a different dimension of Tao Lao so the big cosmic being that the beacon is contacting is probably from the dimension that his mother’s people are from.
Also because Captain Marvel is here for all this. I think its a sly wink and a sinister twist on the space pager Avengers Infinity War Post Credit Scene where Nick Fury activated the “suped-up” space pager to contract her across the galaxy. Like the ten rings are a cosmic energy power level space pager broadcasting across dimensions to someone super powerful and they’ll pay that off more during the Shang-Chi & The Legend of The Ten Rings sequel and theoretically it will also be a plot point setting up Avengers 5 because they way Wong was hyping it up he made it sound like the Avengers would be dealing with whoever shows up to answer that page.
17.Galactus Level Threat
My early theory is it would have to be somebody as big as Galactus with the way this is being hyped up. This is a huge Avengers level threat and I don’t think this has to do with anything the Kang multiverse war. I think this is a complete separate. The whole thing with the Dweller in Darkness was it sucking people’s souls out. Galactus literally sucks the life out of planets so they could just be trying to set up slowly in the future of the MCU.
Captain Marvel logs off the call and they have a joke about her phone number. Hulk says she does it all the time and ” I don’t have her number”; that’s just a joke about her not being around to help earth out. They actually cover that as a big plot pint during Captain marvel 2-The Marvels. The fact that she’s super powerful and not always being around and everyone being super pissed about it. They teased that a little bit on Wandavision with Monica Rambeau’s character but but then Wong says Shang-Chi and Katy’s lives are about to change in a big way, proceeds to give them a welcome to the team speech which is the movie’s way of saying welcome to the avengers.
They then bring back the karaoke joke from the beginning of the movie; choosing between going to head to bed to rest for the avengers stuff they would be doing soon or head to karaoke with Wong singing Hotel California which was the song that Katy sang when they were in high-school to just confuse the bully that was getting ready to fight Shang-Chi. It’s just a joke about his friendship with Katy but who knew Wong liked to have so much fun.
18.New Ten Rings Organization
Now it makes a little more sense why he was having that fight with the abomination and why he seemed so friendly with Emil Blonsky; he calls him by name during the movie. They teased something really going on the abomination but they never completely explain it and he just kind of goes away in the middle of the film. I do think it has something to do with what’s going on with Val’s character putting together the thunderbolts-the dark avengers style team. But Val herself does not appear anywhere in the film.
In the post credit scene his sister Xialing is back at their father’s compound and takes over the ten rings organization and changes things physically and metaphorically so that now they have women assassins as well. Those were not black widows those were just regular ten rings soldiers, assassins. She kind of upgrades her former fighting competition using the ten rings. She even has her little fight promoter there from earlier in the film.
There’s all this graffiti decorating her father’s compound just like the graffiti around her fighting ring in Macau. She’s also changed the flag in the symbol of the ten rings giving it more red colouring. She mentions that they have a lot of work to do and then the tag at the end reads “the ten rings will return” using her new version of the ten rings logo. Obviously they will be back for Shang-Chi 2 in the sequel but I think the whole point of the tag here mean that we’ll see them in another movie sooner than that and because of all the shady stuff that Sharon Carter is doing as the Power Broker now in Marvel Phase 4 and what Val is doing on the “down-low” separately.
I believe we may see the ten rings in Captain America 4. A lot of people mistook the location of her fighting ring at Macau for the one at Madripoor. So it seems she’s a character already fitting in with a lot of what’s going on with Captain America and the Winter Soldier.