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SYFY WIRE Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

'Shang-Chi' will return with sequel in the works at Marvel, Destin Daniel Cretton back to direct

The first movie broke a Labor Day box office record when it opened to $90 million in North America.

By Josh Weiss
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

We all knew this was coming, but now it's official: Marvel Studios is moving forward on a sequel to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

According to Deadline, which first broke the news, Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) will return as writer and director via a newly-signed production deal with Marvel and Hulu's Onyx Collective. In addition to the follow-up feature, Cretton is in the midst of developing a mystery MCU project for Disney+. Could it potentially be a starring vehicle for Shang-Chi's sister, Xu Xialing (played by Meng'er Zhang), that makes good on the end credits promise that "the Ten Rings will return"? Only time will tell!

“Destin is an amazing collaborator who brought a unique perspective and skill to Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings. We had a fantastic time working together on the film and he has so many intriguing ideas for stories to bring to life on Disney+, so we’re thrilled to expand our relationship with him and can’t wait to get started,” Kevin Feige, President, Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer, Marvel, said in a statement to Deadline.

“Destin is a powerhouse storyteller with impeccable taste in material. As we continue to expand our roster, Destin’s unique voice will help usher in an exciting slate of content for our global audience,” added Tara Duncan, President, Freeform & Onyx Collective.

Cretton is set to produce all of these upcoming projects under Family Owned, a production banner co-founded with Asher Goldstein. While it's way too early for casting news, audiences can probably assume that Simu Liu will be asked back for the Shang-Chi sequel. Last we saw of the character, he was investigating the mysterious source of the titular 10 artifacts, whose otherworldly origins threw several of the MCU's brightest minds — Wong (Benedict Wong), Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) — for a loop.

“Working on Shang-Chi with Kevin and the Marvel Studios team was one of the highlights of my life, and I couldn’t be more excited about Tara’s vision for Onyx Collective," Cretton said in a statement of his own. "I can’t wait to explore new stories and build new worlds with this community."

During a guest appearance on The Tonight Show several weeks ago, Liu said he was totally in the dark about another cinematic outing for his character. “I just feel like there were certain things that ruined it for all of us,” he said, referring to Marvel's tried and true policy of keeping any and all secrets tightly under wraps. I don’t want to single anyone out, but shout out to [Tom] Holland, shout out to [Mark] Ruffalo. They really just mucked it up for the rest of us.”

The actor celebrated the sequel news on Twitter Monday by posting a news article with the joking caption of: "Flopped so hard we got a sequel!!" Posting on his Instagram story, Liu tagged Cretton and wrote: "Let's do this."

Marvel Studios' first Asian-led superhero movie, Shang-Chi shattered Labor Day weekend records at the North American box office when it opened to $90 million in early September. This jolt of pure adrenaline to the COVID-impacted theatrical industry was enough for Sony to move up its own Marvel title — Venom: Let There Be Carnageby two weeks. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings closed out its theatrical run with just over $420 million worldwide. Domestically speaking, the film is the highest-grossing movie of the year with $224.5 million. It is now available to stream on Disney+ at no extra cost to subscribers.

"It should come as no surprise that Shang-Chi received the green-light for a sequel, given the extreme popularity of the film during its theatrical run that catapulted the film's box office gross to over $400 million worldwide," Paul Dergarabedian, Senior Media Analyst at Comscore, tells SYFY WIRE. "On Disney+, the film is presumably one of the platform's most popular pieces of content. It's certainly a wise move on the part of Marvel to make the decision to continue the adventures of the amazing characters that inhabit the world of Shang-Chi — not only from a financial perspective, but also to further the mission of bringing a greater diversity of characters to the big screen within the framework of the superhero genre and in such an entertaining and fun cinematic package to boot."