Xialing’s Go-To Weapon in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and Its Connection to “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”
In Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” marked a significant milestone by introducing the first Asian lead character, played by Simu Liu. Not only did the movie break barriers, but it also showcased Xialing, a prominent Asian hero in Marvel comics who is Shang-Chi’s sister. The character was portrayed by Meng’er Zhang, who delivered a standout performance.
In addition to “Shang-Chi,” Phase 4 also saw the return of Wong, portrayed by Benedict Wong, who made appearances in “Shang-Chi” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” In the latter film, Wong notably wielded a traditional Chinese weapon called the Guan Dao, showing the influence of Eastern culture on the portrayal of a beloved Marvel character. These instances of representation and cultural inclusion in the MCU have been widely praised for their positive impact on audiences around the world.
Wong’s Doctor Strange 2 Weapon Has Shang-Chi Ties
During a pivotal battle scene between Doctor Strange and Gargantos in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Wong, the loyal and powerful sorcerer, used an ancient Chinese weapon called the rope dart to great effect. A rope dart is a weapon consisting of a long length of rope with a secure metal spike attached to the end, used as a throwing weapon or to ensnare an opponent. Interestingly, this same form of weaponry was also used by Xialing, Shang-Chi’s sister, during the final showdown in Ta Lo in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
It’s fascinating to note that the appearance of the rope dart in “Shang-Chi” served as a reference for Wong’s magical version in “Multiverse of Madness.” The Marvel universe is known for its attention to detail, and this is just one example of how the franchise’s creators pay homage to and build upon existing lore.
In the book “Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: The Art of the Movie,” Graham Churchyard, the film’s costume designer, explained his intention to deviate from the classic rope dart design, opting for a more stylized and mystical version that would better fit Wong’s character and abilities. This attention to detail and creativity is what makes the Marvel Cinematic Universe so beloved by fans worldwide:
“Wong’s rope dart is a martial arts weapon, a bit like a physical taser. It also turned up in Marvel Studios’ ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,’ which was shooting at the same time, but there it was more of a classic rope dart worn on the waist. I wanted to move away from that, and I had seen armored cuffs on trips to museums like the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the British Museum, where they have a section on near-Middle Eastern armor.”
Churchyard further described Wong’s rope dart, which was designed to increase in size when thrown at its target:
“Some of the most lethal ancient weapons are so beautifully constructed they look like jewelry. And then you realize it’s a weapon designed to kill someone— that’s always quite bizarre. I wanted to scale it down onto a wrist, we had to get away from the sort of giant arrowhead that was in ‘Shang-Chi’ and used in real life. And so I just thought, ‘Well, there’s all this eldritch magic.’ So that’s why I sold them this idea that it would just increase in size as it flew off Wong’s arm.”
Marvel Studios Projects Influence Each Other
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for incorporating shared elements between different projects, and this approach is especially evident in the case of last-minute alterations that occur during the filmmaking process. In some cases, minor adjustments need to be made, such as altering special effects to differentiate them from other movies or shows within the Marvel universe. This is done to ensure that each project stands out on its own while still being part of a larger universe and brand.
One example of this is the use of similar weapons by Wong and Xialing in their respective films. Behind-the-scenes considerations were made to ensure that the weapons did not appear too similar, which would have caused confusion among viewers. The filmmakers made certain that each weapon was unique, despite having a similar design, to maintain consistency and avoid any continuity errors.
If you are a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, you can catch “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” on Disney+ or purchase them wherever movies are sold.