Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings just hit theaters around the world and we have decided to explain some facts about the movie here on Fiction Horizon. Today, we are going to tell you about the origins of the Ten Rings, Mandarin’s powerful weapons that are the main focus of the above-mentioned movie.
In the comic books, Mandarin’s ten rings are powerful cylinders of alien origins that give the user incredible powers. They have been found by the Mandarin when a Makluan spaceship fell on Earth. In the MCU, the origins of the Ten Rings are still shrouded in mystery.
In today’s article, you are going to explain the origins of Mandarin’s rings. You’re going to find out their origins in the comic books, as well as the MCU, since the artifacts are quite different in the two universes. Along with that, you’re also going to get an explanation of the end credits scene from the movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Origins of the Ten Rings in the comics
These are priceless, unearthly, alien artifacts, and that’s all you can muster? “Hm”? You are one of the very few men that have ever seen them without dying their next human instant. Relish it.– Mandarin
This is how the Mandarin described his (in)famous rings in the Invincible Iron Man Annual #1 comic book, showing how important they are to him and how powerful they really are. Now, in this section, we are going to explore the comic book origins of Mandarin’s rings.
The ten cylinders that would become Mandarin’s rings were parts of Makluan engineering. Each of them contained the soul of a long-dead, legendary cosmic warrior, trapped in a fantastical state limited by its particular device. Each of these artifacts also had an A.I. in quarantine for when the rings were separated from their wearers.
They found their way to Earth aboard Axonn-Karr’s, a Makluan explorer, spacecraft, which had to retreat to a cave in the Valley of the Spirits in China after being fatally injured by the terrified natives of the country. The Mandarin spotted Axonn-Karr and his ship and was frozen in place by the cylinders.
The Mandarin ignored the dying Axonn-Karr’s requests not to touch them, finished him off with his sword, and took the cylinders to himself. After realizing that they looked like rings, the Mandarin began to wear them as such, one on each of his fingers, to learn how to use them and unleash their powers.
When the Mandarin first wore all of the rings at once, the spirits within managed to reach his mind and influence his thoughts so that his ultimate goal was to revive them. Many years later, the Mandarin decided to finally fulfill his will. And the rest is history.
The Mandarin would use these rings mostly during his fights with Iron Man. He also wanted to use them to subdue the whole world, but he was usually stopped. As far as Shang-Chi is concerned, the Mandarin wasn’t one of his major enemies until recently, so – as far as the comic books are concerned, at least – the rings haven’t been part of the lore so much.
Origins of the Ten Rings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)
Now that we’ve explained the comic book origins of Mandarin’s rings, we can head to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which not only redesigned and repurposed the cylinders, it also gave them a slightly different origins story, mostly to make them more authentic in relation to Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet.
Now, from what we know in the movie, Mandarin found the Ten Rings, as he himself said, about a 1,000 years ago, either in a crater or in a crave. Now, the Mandarin is a practically immortal character so this shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise, but he is still a relatively unreliable narrator so one shouldn’t really trust his story completely. They seemed to have arrived on Earth at one point in time, but not much has been revealed about them except that they are powerful weapons which granted Mandarin and, later, Shang-Chi some extraordinary powers and abilities.
Now, a large chunk of the movie – okay, almost the whole movie – never really bothered with the origins of the Rings. They were, actually, relatively unimportant for the whole plot and were mostly a plot device for the great battles between Mandarin and his son. Until the first post-credits scene, that it. Namely, at one point, when Shang-Chi and Katy recount their adventures to their friends, Wong appears in the restaurant using a Sling Ring and summons the two.
He takes Shang-Chi’s rings and tries to examine them to determine what they are and where they came from, but without much success. Bruce Banner and Carol Danvers of the Avengers also appear as holograms, but even they couldn’t really determine the true nature of the rings. Banner concluded that they were definitely more than a 1,000 years old, while Carol confirmed that they are not made from any metal known to her, and she has traversed the universe from top to bottom.
Finally, as the five of them discuss the rings, Wong discovers that there is a signal within them, but he doesn’t really know who sent it and who should be on the receiving end, thus leaving the true origins of the rings a mystery. For now.