By combining Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings and what if …? the MCU pointed out problems with their first film.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Marvels What if …? Episode 6.
The events of Marvels What if …? Episode 6 highlights one of the major flaws with its original plot from Phase 1. The organization that appeared first in the original Ironman, is back in the spotlight after the critical and commercial success of Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings. However, the changing role of the terrorist group inadvertently highlights a major flaw within the early MCU and challenges a key factor in Iron Man’s heroic rise.
In the first Ironman, the 10 rings act as mercenary rifles in the service of Stark Industries COO Obadiah Stane. Stane uses the group to kidnap Tony Stark from a military convoy in Afghanistan, lock him in a cave, and force him to build a destructive Jericho missile. Instead, Stark constructs the first prototype of Iron Man armor, shows his rise to a prominent member of The Avengers, and eventually launches the MCU in its current form.
Although the 10 rings in the film act as an effective plot tool, What if…? Episode 6 showed how nonsensical her role actually was. By effortlessly uncovering a clear paper trail, intercepting the group, and rescuing Tony Stark, Killmonger outlines how absurd a businessman’s idea was to contact and hire a single terrorist cell for his own purposes. The fact that he can outline his findings with a detailed paper trail in a glorified PowerPoint presentation proves this once again. However, the release of Shang-Chi shows that this implausible plan was by no means the only problem with Marvel’s approach to the 10 rings in Phase 1.
For example, the recent release of Phase 4 makes it clear that the 10 Rings have had a turbulent history under the leadership of Warlord Xu Wenwu. Not only have they been in service for thousands of years, their name refers to 10 actual rings that can harness extraordinary power. In contrast, the 10 rings of the Phase 1 story arc share none of this narrative and appear as a completely separate group. This implies that there are somehow two different 10-ring organizations within the MCU that happen to have the same name, which seems highly unlikely to say the least.
There are very reasonable explanations as to why this narrative could be so confusing. For starters, no one could have predicted the widespread success of the giant, interconnected MCU on the back of the first Ironman. To expect everything from the movie that started it all to make sense almost 15 years later would be unreasonable. Still, there is no doubt that recent MCU productions, both then and in retrospect, prove that Iron mans 10 Rings plot had its problems. Given the film’s unique meaning, these are understandably difficult to ignore.
More: Shang-Chi’s Planet of the Apes joke is the perfect Iron Man 3 payoff
Marvels What if …? releases new episodes on Disney + Wednesdays.
- Eternal (2021)Release date: 05/11/2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: 12/17/2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release DATE: March 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release DATE: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever / Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: 07/08/2022
- The Marvels / Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: 11/11/2022
- Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release DATE: February 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release DATE: May 05, 2023
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