Shang-Chi’s Ending & Post-Credits Scenes Explained
Spoilers follow for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Shang-Chi has arrived in theaters, and judging by its ending, the MCU’s latest superhero could play a big role in Phase 4 and beyond.
Now that you’ve watched Shang-Chi, we imagine you’re wondering about the end of the movie and the post-credits scenes.
Below we will detail the end of Shang-Chi’s live debut. We’ll also explain how the mid-credits and post-credits scenes relate to the larger MCU and what impact they can have on it.
We are heading towards major spoiler territory for Shang-Chi. Go back now if you haven’t watched it yet, or you’ll spoil the surprises for yourself.
Shang-Chi’s Ending Explained: How Does The MCU Movie End?
With Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) saving the day, though Katy (Awkwafina) and the Great Protector helped him stop the interdimensional being known as Dweller-in-Darkness.
Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), who believes his late wife Jiang Li (Fala Chan) is calling him to Ta Lo, destroys the dragon scale barrier that had prevented the Dweller-in-Darkness from escaping from his grave.
Once the entity is released from captivity, its bat-like servants begin to feed it with the souls they have acquired from the armies of Ta Lo and Wenwu. After first clashing, the two sides agree to join forces and prevent the Dweller-in-Darkness and his subordinates from killing anyone else.
Their efforts, however, are in vain. The Dweller-in-Darkness consumes enough souls to grow taller and more powerful than the Great Protector, the mystical dragon of Ta Lo who has watched over the magical village for eons.
Unable to fight his enemy, the Great Protector is captured by the Dark Dweller, who begins to feast on his soul. Draining the dragon of its life force would make Dweller-in-Darkness unstoppable and allow it to destroy Earth.
As he absorbs the dragon’s soul, Shang-Chi’s sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), who rides the Great Protector alongside her brother, loses her grip and begins to fall. Shang-Chi grabs his hand, but she tells him to let her go so that he can save the Great Protector using the 10 rings. Remembering how he had left her alone in Wenwu’s compound years earlier, Shang-Chi tells her that he “won’t let her go anymore”, even if that means the Dweller-in-Darkness wins.
With the pair incapacitated, it’s up to Katy to stop the juggernaut. Aiming at his neck, Katy shoots an arrow that pierces the creature’s throat, interrupting his feast of the Great Protector’s soul.
Recovering from the attack, the Grand Protector traps the Dweller-in-Darkness in a giant water column. Sensing an opportunity to kill him, Shang-Chi jumps off the dragon’s back and shoots the 10 rings into the Dweller-in-Darkness’s stomach. Using his magic, he causes the rings to damage the creature from within before inflicting a final punch that detonates it.
Once victory is assured, the remaining forces honor the dead in a candlelight vigil before going their separate ways.
Back in San Francisco, Shang-Chi and Katy tell their friends Soo (Stephanie Hsu) and John (Kunal Dudheker) about their exploits. The duo laugh at their history until Wong (Benedict Wong) unexpectedly appears through a sling portal and asks Shang-Chi and Katy to follow him to Sanctum Santorum.
Shang-Chi’s mid-credits scene explained
Wong inspects the rings alongside Shang-Chi and Katy. The trio, however, are not alone. The camera pans to the right and reveals that of them The Avengers are also in attendance: Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), who has surprisingly regained his human form, and Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), aka Captain Marvel.
Banner and Danvers, who use the hologram technology seen in Avengers: Endgame, say they’ve never encountered anything like the 10 Rings before.
Wong adds that the Rings aren’t part of the Sanctum Codex either, and when Shang-Chi used them to defeat the Dweller-in-Darkness, they sent a signal out into the universe. When Shang-Chi and Katy ask where he was sent, Banner and Danvers receive unexpected messages and leave.
Wong tells Shang-Chi and Katy that they are now part of a larger universe (i.e. the MCU) and that he will be in touch. However, in a fun callback earlier in the film, the duo invite Wong to a karaoke party, where the trio end up singing Hotel California drunk.
So it seems that the 10 rings are of extraterrestrial origin, and that they potentially appeal to their creators – but to whom exactly?
In the comics, the 10 Rings were created by the Makluans, a shape-shifting cosmic race of space dragons (yes, you read that right). Born on the planet Kakaranthara, some Makluans have missed the peace of their world and set out in search of new worlds to explore (or conquer) in the universe.
This seems to be related to the origins of the Great Protector at Ta Lo. Many fans had assumed that Ta Lo’s dragon was Fin Fang Foom but, given the offensive stereotype such a name elicits, Shang-Chi’s dragon was renamed for the film. Even though the Great Protector isn’t Fin Fang Foom, his home in Ta Lo – which exists in a pocket dimension adjacent to Earth in the comics – seems to be inspired by the Makluans.
It is possible that other space dragons will discover that the rings have been used by humans and deem them unworthy of wielding such power. A sequel to Shang-Chi could therefore lead to an invasion of Earth by a space dragon. Hey, weird things have happened in the MCU.
There are two more upcoming Marvel movies that could be related to Shang-Chi as well.
The first is Doctor Strange 2. With Wong appearing in Shang-Chi, it’s plausible that the 10 Rings could make an appearance in the Sorcerer Supreme sequel. We don’t expect him to try to use them, but it would be a cool nod to Shang-Chi if Doctor Strange examines them himself. That seems unlikely, however, given that he will face the fallout from the arrival of the multiverse.
The second link is a little more obscure. In the comics, Marvel’s iterations of legendary Arthurian characters Merlin and the Lady of the Lake seek to prevent Camelot’s destruction by projecting the spirit of the Dark Knight into her 21st century descendant.
Who is this individual? Dane Whitman, who will be played by Kit Harington in Marvel’s upcoming Eternals movie.
So there are more ties to Marvel’s next roster than we think. Could we see Dane and Shang-Chi fight together to fend off a space dragon attack? It’s possible, but it depends on whether Whitman achieves her powers in Eternals or not, and whether Marvel wants the couple to unite on the big screen.
Could we even see a lineup of magical Avengers that will include Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Shang-Chi, Black Knight, and Loki in the future? Something in the style of Firaxis Games’ upcoming Midnight Suns video game, perhaps?
It would make for an unusual but fun team, especially if a Young Avengers movie isn’t yet to come. Magic is becoming a more important part of the MCU, so we’re not ruling it out entirely.
Shang-Chi’s post-credits scene explained
Shang-Chi’s post-credits scene is just as intriguing as the mid-credits scene. We find Xialing in his old room in the Wenwu compound. Razor Fist (Florian Munteanu) arrives and says “they are here”.
The duo make their way to Wenwu’s Throne Room, which overlooks the courtyard where they trained their Ten Rings warriors. Surprisingly, Xialing sits on the throne as the camera pulls back to reveal that a new generation of warriors are being trained. The Ten Rings banner is now red rather than black as well, while graffiti and other artwork has been smeared on the walls of the compound.
The screen goes black, but in doing so, a message appears: The Ten Rings will return.
Xialing is therefore the new leader of the Ten Rings. What does this mean for the organization in the future? In our opinion, the Ten Rings can appear in three main ways in the future.
The first and most obvious is a Shang-Chi sequel. It’s too early to say if he’ll get a follow-up movie, but if he does, Shang-Chi could enlist his sister’s help with any issues that arise.
Then the Ten Rings could appear in a Marvel TV series. What about Armor Wars, the next show that will feature Don Cheadle as War Machine? Iron Man has a history with the Ten Rings thanks to Iron Man 3, so maybe Xialing’s forces are stealing some of Stark’s old tech and weapons on their own. War Machine could then be tasked with recovering them for the US government.
Finally, the Ten Rings could have their own dedicated TV show. If Xialing wants to take them in a heroic direction, the Ten Rings could attempt to stop other organized crimes in the region. It might work best as a show steeped in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier vein, and could draw on Asian traditions, cultures, and societal values that the MCU lacks until Shang-Chi.
However, the adventures of Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings are now unfolding, we are excited to see how Marvel integrates them into the MCU.