Shang-Chi: Origins

Shang-Chi: Origins
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Andrew Tejada
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is almost here! Time to learn a little more about this lesser-known Marvel hero! For this video, we will explore the comic book origins of the master of kung fu, Shang-Chi. Our video includes his 1974 debut, his arch nemesis, his connection to The Mandarin, and more!

Shang-Chi: Origins

Welcome to WatchMojo and today we will explore the comic book origins of the master of kung fu, Shang-Chi.

Which part of this Marvel’s hero’s story do you want to see on screen? Let us know in the comments below!

Shang-Chi made his comic debut in 1973’s Special Marvel Edition #15. Within his very first panels, we see him fighting five Warriors so he can face off against an elusive villain named.... You know what? Since the antagonist’s more offensive moniker was changed for multiple reasons, we’ll just refer to the villain by his updated name: Zheng Zu. Now let’s get back into it. In the middle of a fierce battle, Shang-Chi takes a break from demolishing enemies with kung fu to reveal that the villainous Zheng is his father.

In a flashback, we learn that Shang-Chi spent his entire life honing his martial arts skills in an isolated compound. His father Zheng orders him to leave home for the very first time ever to assassinate a man named Dr. Petrie. Upon discovering his target was a frail senior citizen, Shang-chi expressed some doubts. However, he decides to obey his father and end the man's life.

When Dr. Petrie’s friend Sir Denis Nayland Smith appears and threatens Shang-Chi with a gun, the kung fu master quickly disarms his foe. Before leaving, Smith claims that Shang Chi’s father Zheng committed many cruel acts in the past. The conflicted martial artist is so rattled that he makes a long journey to find his mother and learn the truth.

Shang-Chi’s mother doesn’t waste a second to tell it like it is. She immediately confirms that
Zheng is an evil man with wicked goals. Back in the present time, Shang-Chi Defeats a massive final foe with precise and hard hits. He doesn't have any time to celebrate before he's attacked by an….unhinged gorilla that his father experimented on. Yeah, Zheng is kind of weird.

Right after defeating the powerful primate, Shang-Chi finally confronts his father. Zheng...immediately confirms that he's an evil man with wicked goals. Enraged by his father’s words, Shang-Chi leaves his home and travels to New York City to figure out his next move.

Unfortunately, his fight was just beginning. While trying to sleep in Central Park, Shang-Chi is jumped by a group of criminals. After he makes short work of them, he spots his best and only friend M’Nal hiding in the shadows. But it’s far from a happy reunion. It’s revealed that Zheng sent M’Nal to eliminate Shang-Chi. The two former friends are forced to fight a fierce battle to the death. In the end, only Shang-Chi walks away to fight another day.

After losing his friend, Shang-Chi decides to pay Smith a visit. He avoids booby traps, defeats robots and faces an incredibly tough opponent named Black Jack Tarr just to talk. The tense conversation between Shang-Chi and Smith eventually leads to a huge change. They agree to form an alliance to bring down Zheng. Shortly after they start working together, the young master of kung fu goes to foil one of his father’s schemes. Although Zheng sends dangerous men to try to bring his son down, they all fail. Shang-Chi’s journey to become the hero his father never wanted had officially begun.

The first trailer for Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” contained several parallels to the comic origins. Once again, the young master of kung fu has a villainous father. A series of flashbacks also show that Shang-Chi spent years being trained as an expert fighter. And he doesn’t seem to be on good terms with his father. But there are some new and notable differences.

Shang-Chi’s father is now named Wenwu and has taken on the mantle of legendary comic book villain known as The Mandarin. The young master of kung fu has also decided to put roots down in California instead of New York. Lastly, Shang-Chi seems to have had permission to leave home this time around. However, despite these differences, one big story beat remains the same: Shang-Chi and his father are on the opposite sides of a massive conflict.

It's extremely exciting to see where Shang-Chi’s story goes next. He started out as a gifted martial artist who discovered his father was evil over the course of a few comic panels. Now Shang-Chi is headlining a film in the MCU where he’ll struggle to break free from his dark origins. This master of kung fu has always been a character who's been torn between multiple worlds. But at the end of the day, he was and always will be a hero.