Shang-Chi: Every MCU Cameo & Surprise Return | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings features multiple MCU cameos and surprises. Here’s every familiar character in the Phase 4 movie.
Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings includes multiple connections to the MCU, including several surprise cameos and returning characters. As the MCU has continued to grow, Marvel Studios has made more of a habit of featuring different characters from across the universe in each film. Phase 4 is only just beginning, but it will double down on this approach in Phase 4 with Doctor Strange in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Guardians of the Galaxy in Thor: Love and Thunder, and so on.
When it comes to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the second film in Phase 4 is mostly standalone from the larger MCU storyline. It is set after Avengers: Endgame and follows Shang-Chi’s (Simu Liu) origin story. Shang-Chi does build off previous MCU installments, though, as it features the Ten Rings organization featured in multiple prior films and introduces the real Mandarin after Iron Man 3‘s fakeout. These MCU connections don’t stop the movie from telling its own story, but Shang-Chi also includes a few other surprises in the form of cameos.
Related: Shang-Chi Ending Explained: 6 Biggest Questions, Answered
The presence of other MCU characters in Shang-Chi is something Marvel Studios tipped off prior to the film’s actual release. Marketing showed a few familiar faces returning to take part in the fighting tournament, but they didn’t spoil all of the surprises. Shang-Chi‘s post-credits scenes featured a few Avengers, and there are even some quicker MCU cameos that viewers might miss sprinkled throughout the film.
Benedict Wong returns as Wong, a Master of the Mystic Arts, in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This was previously confirmed through the film’s marketing. He originally appears as part of the illegal fighting competition run by Xialing (Meng’er Zhang). Wong wins his match, and theoretically some of the cash prize, and then goes on his way. It isn’t until the end of Shang-Chi that Wong returns to recruit Shang-Chi and welcome him to the larger MCU world. Wong is intrigued by the Ten Rings after he could feel them when Shang-Chi used them for the first time.
Shang-Chi is the fourth MCU appearance by Wong overall. He originally debuted in 2016’s Doctor Strange and had a sizeable role as Strange learned about magic. Wong then returned for small roles in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. His return here is just the beginning of Wong’s Phase 4 journey, though, as he is confirmed to have roles in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It is even possible that Wong is traveling to Shang-Chi‘s fighting tournament during the Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer.
Abomination made his surprise MCU return in Shang-Chi as part of the fighting tournament too. Emil Blonsky is the one to fight Wong in the main ring before Shang-Chi fights Xialing. Viewers might not immediately recognize Abomination as he was redesigned for Shang-Chi. That isn’t the only surprise reveal that came with his return though. The movie indicates that he and Wong are working or training together, and it appears to show Wong taking Abomination back to The Raft prison.
Related: Shang-Chi Is Fixing One Abomination Problem From The Incredible Hulk
Tim Roth originally played Blonsky in The Incredible Hulk, but the 2008 film was the last time he got to bring Abomination to life. His story ended with the government locking him away, with SHIELD gaining custody of Abomination and cryofreezing him in Alaska. Shang-Chi confirms that this is no longer the case, pointing to some major developments in Abomination’s life during the last decade. He is already confirmed to return in the She-Hulk Disney+ show next, so that could be where some answers finally come.
Shang-Chi also brings back Trevor Slattery (Ben Kingsley) for a surprise return after Iron Man 3. It was in that movie that Trevor pretended to be the Mandarin and a terrorist as part of Aldrich Killian’s plan. Trevor’s role in Shang-Chi builds off the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King, which ended with the Ten Rings organization kidnapping him so he can meet the real Mandarin. Shang-Chi shows that Trevor has been Wenwu’s (Tony Leung) prisoner this entire time. But, he and his pet mythological creature Morris help guide Shang-Chi to Ta-Lo. Trevor Slattery’s MCU future is unclear again now that he has returned, so there’s a chance this will be the final time audiences see the Planet of the Apes fanatic.
The mid-credits scene for Shang-Chi brought back multiple Avengers, with Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) one of them. Captain Marvel’s appearance came in the form of a hologram as she was consulted by Wong about the origin of the Ten Rings. She isn’t able to identify them from her years of exploring the cosmos and has to leave suddenly due to an emergency. Carol has her long hair again after the short hair cur she wore in Avengers: Endgame, indicating a decent amount of time has passed.
This marks the third appearance by Brie Larson in the MCU after Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. It also keeps her streak alive of appearing in all of Destin Daniel Cretton’s movies. Larson is already confirmed to return as Captain Marvel again in The Marvels, which is now likely to connect to the emergency Carol references in Shang-Chi‘s post-credits scene. The upcoming movie will see Captain Marvel team up with Monica Rambeau and Kamala Khan, but meeting Shang-Chi might also come in the future after their encounter here.
Related: Shang-Chi End-Credits Scenes Set Up 6 MCU Movies & Shows
The other Avenger to appear in Shang-Chi‘s mid-credits scene was Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo). He was also brought in by Wong to analyze the Ten Rings, and Bruce determines that they aren’t vibranium in origin. Ruffalo’s return isn’t the most surprising part of this moment, though, as him being in Bruce’s normal human form is. Avengers: Endgame left him as Smart Hulk. This version of the character was expected to be the main look of Hulk moving forward. Bruce’s arm is still in a sling as a result of the damage sustained by using the Infinity Stones to reverse Thanos’ snap, but how and why he left Smart Hulk behind is not explained.
Shang-Chi is the seventh MCU movie to feature an appearance by Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, and the eighth overall to feature a version of Bruce Banner. The character has clearly undergone some changes since Avengers: Endgame ended, but it will be up to future MCU projects to explain that transformation. Ruffalo is confirmed to return in She-Hulk next, so this could be where Marvel Studios provided an explanation for Smart Hulk being no more.
One of Shang-Chi‘s quickest MCU cameos comes in the form of Jade Xu playing a Black Widow. The world champion martial artist played a small role in Black Widow as one of the Widows under General Dreykov’s control. Now that she is freed from that control, Shang-Chi shows her fighting in Xialing’s tournaments to earn some extra cash. With one former member of the Red Room featured, it is possible Yelena Belova and others could be nearby too.
The opponent of Jade Xu’s Black Widow in Shang-Chi also holds a connection to the wider MCU. The person she is fighting has Extremis flowing through their body. Iron Man 3 featured Extremis as the invention of Maya Hansen, which was then used by Aldrich Killian to create a new kind of supersoldier. The Extremis fighter featured in Shang-Chi isn’t Killian or even James Badge Dale’s Savin. Instead, this is an unnamed soldier with Extremis abilities. While Iron Man 3 seemed to eliminate all Extremis soldiers, Agents of SHIELD featured many more of them during season 1.
Related: Every MCU Easter Egg In Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings
One more MCU cameo that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings might include is connected to Spider-Man: Homecoming. Actor Zach Cherry played an unnamed New York street vendor in Tom Holland’s first Spider-Man movie, but he appears again here as a man named Clev. The movie doesn’t confirm if Cherry’s two MCU appearances are the same role. However, they don’t contradict each other, as Clev could be vacationing in San Francisco or have moved there sometime after Homecoming.
MORE: Every Marvel Cinematic Universe Movie, Ranked Worst To Best (Including Shang-Chi)
Cooper Hood is a news and feature writer for Screen Rant. He joined Screen Rant in late 2016 following a year-long stint with MCU Exchange, which came after first developing an MCU blog of his own. He graduated college in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Media & Public Communication, with a minor in Media Production. Cooper’s love for movies began by watching Toy Story and Lion King on repeat as a child, but it wasn’t until The Avengers that he took an invested interest in movies and the filmmaking process, leading him to discover the world of film journalism. Every year Cooper looks forward to seeing the latest blockbusters from the likes of Marvel, DC, and Star Wars, but also loves the rush to catch up on Oscar films near the end of the year. When he isn’t writing about or watching new releases, Cooper is a fantasy football obsessive and looking to expand his Blu-Ray collection – because physical media is still king! Follow Cooper on Twitter @MovieCooper.


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