When Does Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Take Place In the MCU Timeline? Is It After or Before Avengers: Endgame Explained

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With the release of the first trailer of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the hype of having an almost all-Asian cast entering the MCU proves its promise of diversity in heroes and villains alike, but many are still wondering when the film takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline and whether it is before or after the Avengers: Endgame considering the blip of Thanos.

When Does Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Take Place In the MCU Timeline
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Credit: Marvel Studios

The MCU timeline jumps from time to time although the general rule there is that it happened in the year it was released. That is, until the blip where it puts a gap of five years where half of the universe turned to dust by the snap of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and the Avengers reversing the effects when Hulk snapped everyone back to existence in the Avengers: Endgame.

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There are, of course, various outliers when it comes to the timeline like Captain Marvel being set in the ‘90s and Spider-Man: Far From Home set in 2024. To set things straight, the current year in the MCU is 2023, after the blip, as set by WandaVision happening only weeks after, and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier only a few months following the return of everyone blipped.

The trailer has not revealed yet when it is exactly set but it can be deduced when it can possibly take place. Such detail has not been disclosed yet but there are hints. Let's weigh the possibilities here.

Is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Set During the Blip?

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This one could easily be ruled out as a possibility. The trailer shows that the world seems normal. In The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, it has always been discussed by the Flag Smashers how the world turned upside down during the five-year gap and people gets internationally displaced that when everyone was blipped back, there were efforts of returning these people to where they originally came from.

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In Shang-Chi's trailer, there were little to no signs that people were displaced or that the world is in confusion with the loss of various people turning to dust. Therefore, it is not set during the blip.

Is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Set After the Avengers: Endgame?

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This setting has a high probability. Given that this film will be an introductory film to the character, it is possible that he only got under the radar of the Avengers following the events of the blip as only then did he finally discover the greatness he has in him. The film could be set in either 2023 or 2024 after the world has recuperated from the effects of the blip.

The trailer shows that the world is in its normal phase. It could be that Shang-Chi is one of those blipped and hadn't been in action until after such, even if not, he could be in pursuit against his father during those times, being busy with his own business. It would make sense if his timeline would be set only after such.

It doesn't discount the fact also that the film has various settings showing Shang-Chi's childhood throughout the film and The Mandarin saying he has been on his own for ten years. Their face-off could happen after the Avengers: Endgame, once the world is back on its feet.

Is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Set Before the Avengers: Endgame?

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This is another with a high possibility. Surely, there would be scenes before the blip as some scenes in the trailer shows the childhood of Shang-Chi and how his father, Wenwu, built the organization of the Ten Rings, plus Shang-Chi's training with the Death Dealer. However, this would raise the question of where Shang-Chi is during the battle with Thanos and why he did not join the fight.

Still, early reports have seen that the film took place in 2020. In a tweet that went across social media, a video of the behind-the-scenes shows that Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Katy (Awkwafina) passed by a graffiti on the wall that says 2020. It may be just another detail but knowing Marvel to be keen on even the slightest details, that one wouldn't pass being anything.

It may be an establishing shot of the year it took place or it could be another scene that could be easily replaced given that the film was supposed to be released just the following year only to be pushed back by the pandemic putting the whole world to a halt. It doesn't discount the fact that the film could've happened before the events of Avengers: Endgame.

It could be excused if Shang-Chi is one of the unfortunate souls blipped by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, even the strongest heroes fell to that like Wanda, Black Panther, and many others. Since he wasn't part of the team yet, it could also be possible that he didn't and still hasn't joined in Avengers: Endgame as it was revealed in the trailer that he is laying low and keeping a low profile.

When do you think Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set? Let us know your thoughts!

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiere on September 3, 2021, in theaters and possibly in Disney Plus Premier Access as well.

Related: Who Is The Villain of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings