Warning: The following contains major spoilers for the Shang-Chi ending! If you're not all caught up on the movie, bookmark this page and come back.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has arrived, and its action-packed ending might have left you with some questions. For one thing, what were those flying creatures? And who – or what – were the Ten Rings calling out to?
We've rounded up every question you could possibly have on the ending of the film, and dived deep into what it all means. Scroll on to have all your questions on the latest Marvel movie answered.
Shang-Chi ending explained **spoilers**
So what exactly went down during the Shang-Chi ending? Shang-Chi, Katy, Xialing, and Trevor Slattery all cross over into the mystical village of Ta-Lo, where Shang-Chi and Xialing's mother, Li, hailed from. They're pursued by the villain Wenwu, who believes that Ta-Lo is keeping Li hostage behind a sinister-looking, giant gate.
Of course, that isn't actually the case – behind the gate lies the Dweller in Darkness, and its army of Soul-Eaters. Shang-Chi and the rest of the village train to fight against Wenwu and the Ten Rings organization, and learn that dragon scales are the only thing that can kill the Soul-Eaters.
An epic battle ensues, and Shang-Chi faces his father while the village fight the Ten Rings group. Wenwu breaks the gate, though, and the Soul-Eaters emerge, soon followed by the Dweller in Darkness itself. All seems lost, but the Great Protector appears from the water to aid in the fight, and the combined forces of Ta-Lo and the Ten Rings save the village – and the world.
Is Wenwu dead?
While Shang-Chi and Wenwu are battling it out, the gate begins to crumble, and Soul-Eaters start to escape one by one. As the fight continues, Shang-Chi appears to be able to take control of the Ten Rings himself, and all the while is trying to get through to Wenwu and stop his attack.
Ultimately, the Dweller in Darkness breaks free just as Wenwu seems to have a change of heart. The giant creature snatches Wenwu up, and, as his soul is absorbed, the former-villain passes the Rings on to Shang-Chi – who can only watch as his father is killed.
Is Shang-Chi an Avenger now?
In the first post-credits scene, Shang-Chi and Katy talk to Wong, Bruce Banner, and Captain Marvel about the Ten Rings. Bruce tells them that their lives are about to change forever now that they're heroes.
While that doesn't necessarily mean Shang-Chi has become an official Avenger, it does seem like a pretty big clue that he's about to become a full time hero, so we can probably expect to see him in the line-up of the next big team-up movie, whenever that may be.
Who is Captain Marvel interrupted by?
While Captain Marvel and the others are talking, she suddenly gets a communication of some kind that has her hurrying away mid-conversation. Bruce says she does that a lot, so it's possible Carol was pulled away for her regular intergalactic duties – or it could be a clue about her upcoming sequel movie, The Marvels.
Captain Marvel 2 will feature Monica Rambeau, who made her MCU debut in WandaVision, and a new young hero, Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel. Could one of them be trying to reach Carol in this scene? It's possible, but we'll have to wait till the sequel lands in November 2022 to find out for sure.
Why is Bruce Banner's arm broken?
Bruce appears to be able to shift back into human form now, after being stuck as Professor Hulk in Avengers: Endgame. That doesn't seem to have fixed his arm, though, which was in a sling after he used the Infinity Gauntlet to undo the Blip. It's likely this is why Bruce still has it bandaged up. However, considering he'll also be appearing in the She-Hulk Disney Plus series, it's also possible that he could have injured it again during the events of the TV show – if that series ends up being set at around the same time as Shang-Chi.
Who are Shang Chi's Rings trying to contact?
During the post-credits scene, it turns out that the Rings are putting out a beacon into space. It's unclear who exactly they're calling out to, but in the comics, the Rings actually have interstellar origins. The Mandarin scavenged them from the wreckage of a ship from planet Maklu IV – and the Makluans are basically huge dragons. Considering we've already been introduced to the Great Protector, is it possible the Rings are calling to more of those mythical creatures?
Or, it could be something entirely different, like a new hero from beyond the stars, or even a villain like Kang the Conqueror. That's all pure speculation, though.
What's next for the Ten Rings organization?
The Ten Rings organization is now in the hands of Xialing, who seems to have already made a big change: for the first time, women are part of the group. It's unclear if they'll continue with their villainous activities or not, though Shang-Chi recently had a less-than-heroic sister introduced in Marvel comics, so it's possible Xialing won't be making major changes to the group's modus operandi. She did prove herself to be superhero material in the movie, though, so it's also likely that the Ten Rings will be more morally gray than outright nefarious from now on.
After the last post-credits scene, the text "the Ten Rings will return" appears on-screen. That could mean the organization as well as the actual, physical Rings wielded by Shang-Chi, so we'll probably find out soon what the group will be up to in the future.
Why was Wong fighting Abomination? And when will we next see them in the MCU?
Wong and Abomination are seen fighting each other at the Golden Dagger Club, which is owned by Xialing. Weirdly enough, they seem to actually be friends, with the suggestion that they're training together – and they both go through the same portal after the fight. It's completely unclear how exactly these two met and got to know each other, though.
We'll next see Wong in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Abomination in She-Hulk – though plot details on both projects are thin on the ground at the moment. Will their odd couple friendship continue? Watch this space.
Who is Shang-Chi's mother? And who is Ying Nan?
Shang-Chi's mother is named Li, and she met his father Wenwu in the magical forest that guards Ta-Lo. There's no comic book basis for her character, so everything we know about her comes from the movie – she left the forest behind to live with Wenwu, Shang-Chi, and Xialing, but was killed by men looking to hurt her husband.
Ying Nan, meanwhile, is Li's sister, and Shang-Chi and Xialing's aunt. She lives in Ta-Lo, and, like Li, doesn't have a basis in Marvel comics. In the film, we see her help Shang-Chi come to terms with who he is, and the best way to battle his father.
Are the Soul-Eaters from the comics? Why do dragon scales hurt them?
The Soul-Eaters do have a comic book history, and it involves Doctor Strange. They come from the Sixth Dimension and once possessed the spirit of a young boy in Manhattan. Doctor Strange ventured into the boy's soulscape to try and get rid of the Soul-Eaters, though the creatures, fleeing some evil robots, weren't keen on the idea of leaving. The Sorcerer Supreme eventually had to fight one of the Soul-Eaters nominated as a champion and managed to convince them to move on to other hosts.
As for the dragon scales, that's all to do with the past battle between the Soul-Eaters and the Great Protector, seen in the movie. The giant dragon was the only thing able to drive them back through the gate, and its own scales enable the people of Ta-Lo to fight back against the creatures when they return.
What is Ta-Lo?
Ta-Lo is a mystical village shielded by a magical forest, and is also where Shang-Chi's mother and aunt are from. It's where the film's climactic battle goes down, and where the Great Protector makes its underwater home.
In Marvel comics, Ta-Lo, also called the Great Canopy of Heaven, is actually a God Realm and pocket dimension next to Earth, with passageways between the village and the planet situated on each of its Five Great Mountains. Much like in the movie, it's inhabited with mythical creatures. Unlike the film, though, it's also home to the Xian, who are Taoist gods, and is one of 36 heavens.
When will Shang Chi next return?
At the moment, nothing about a sequel has been officially announced, and we only have the promise that "the Ten Rings will return" to go off. Judging by the MCU's general pattern, it certainly seems like we'll be seeing Shang-Chi again, though, most likely in a second movie – but potentially even in a future team-up film.
Plus, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige told ComicBook.com of Shang-Chi's characters: "We certainly have many ideas of where to take them and where to put them."
He added: "But, I think the end of this film gives a pretty clear direction on, at least, how vital and how important and how directly Shang-Chi is stepping into this world. We are reminded of Nick Fury in the tag of Iron Man 1, telling Tony Stark, 'You're part of a bigger universe, you just don't know it yet.' And without giving away, a very similar thing happens to Shang at the end of this movie." That definitely sounds like a return is on the cards.
- All the Shang-Chi cameos explained
- When does Shang-Chi take place in the Marvel timeline
- The Shang-Chi post-credits scenes explained
Until then, though, see our guide to Marvel Phase 4 to find out what the MCU has in store for us next.