Shang-Chi's New Weapon Brings What If…? Heroes into Mainstream Reality – Screen Rant

Shang-Chi’s Ruguo Coin is the perfect way to introduce a mix of old and new characters from Marvel’s What If…? into the mainstream Marvel universe.
Warning! Spoilers for Marvel’s Voices: Identity #1 below!
Shang-Chi‘s latest adventure ends up with him in possession of an artifact that can bring Marvel’s What If…? characters into the mainstream continuity. On a mission to collect powerful magical artifacts that his father created, Shang-Chi comes across the Ruguo Coin, which causes him to fight against his worst opponent: himself from a parallel universe. While Shang-Chi faces a more ruthless, lethal version of himself, the Ruguo Coin opens up a multiverse of possibilities for a wide range of Marvel doppelgängers to cameo or make their debut.
Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin for Special Marvel Edition #15, Shang-Chi  was raised by his father immortal sorcerer and crime lord Zheng Zu to become a deadly assassin. Defecting after his first mission, he joined forces with his father’s enemies to oppose him and later his travels around the world saw him meet and fight with or alongside other martial artists and Marvel superheroes. Juggling the perils of espionage with membership on teams like Heroes for Hire or the Avengers, Shang-Chi also helped train other heroes like Spider-Man. At the same time, he learned from other heroes’ unique fighting styles. Shang-Chi eventually assumed the role of Supreme Commander of his father’s Five Weapons Society, trying to use it to protect all humankind while avoiding becoming just like his father in the process.
RELATED: Marvel Finally Explores Shang-Chi’s Forgotten Origin
In Marvel’s Voices: Identity #1, a story titled “What Is vs. What If” by Gene Luen Yang and Marcus To has Shang-Chi travel to the Order of Uatu. After introducing himself, he tells its members that he seeks the Ruogo Coin, an artifact in their possession that his father created. The monks who base their lifestyle upon the famous alien observer respect Shang-Chi’s wishes to keep it from ending up in the wrong hands, but casually reveal the coin’s unique abilities as a test. In order to possess the Ruogo Coin, Shang-Chi must face his doppelgänger, a version of himself that did not defect but instead pledged his loyalty to his father, becoming a lethal enforcer who ruled alongside Zheng Zhu.
Since 1977, Marvel has published What If…? storylines that explore alternate Marvel universes and show different outcomes of popular Marvel events and the effect these changes would have on their world and the characters within them. Creating a multitude of different Marvel universes that often remain unexplored, the Ruogo Coin gives Marvel’s creators the chance to breathe new life into these unused characters within the context of the ever-changing mainstream Marvel universe. With Marvel’s What If…? Disney+ series currently getting good reviews with fans and critics, it also presents opportunities for Captain Britain, T’Challa’s Star Lord or the Strange Supreme to make an appearance in a way that could lead to more exposure depending on their popularity.
In Shang-Chi’s case, his evil doppelgänger claims that the years working alongside their father has made him more of a Master of the Deadly Way and that Shang-Chi’s diverse experiences makes him weak instead of stronger. Shang-Chi proves him wrong as his time fighting alongside Marvel’s greatest heroes has made him a better fighter, using their variety of styles to defeat himself and obtain the Ruogo Coin. The Order of Uatu’s monk ominously warns him, “Be careful, Shang-Chi. With or without the coin, the what ifs will always be there, lurking in the shadows.” It appears Shang-Chi and Marvel Comics may learn more about the difference between “what is” and “What if…?” sooner than expected.
NEXT: Tom Taylor Has Quietly Perfected DC’s Version of ‘What If?’
Drew is a reader, writer, artist, and creative professional based in Westchester, New York. He dabbles into cosplay, movie references, comics, and some anime while also being a Ghostbuster. He has a Bachelors in History, a Masters in Publishing and is excited to be working with Screen Rant. Previously his articles have been featured on Comic Book Resources and Iron Age Comics and he’s excited to see what happens next!

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