‘Shang-Chi’ Director Destin Daniel Cretton Tells Story Behind a Surprise Return in the Film

As with most Marvel Cinematic Universe films, surprises were at every turn in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The film was the origin story for the character of Shang-Chi as he came face-to-face with his past. But since the film had an expansive and established universe behind it, there were bound to be a few surprise guests.

Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Destin Daniel Cretton, director of 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,' speaks onstage at a special screening of the film.
Destin Daniel Cretton | Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Ben Kingsley reprises his role as Trevor in ‘Shang-Chi’

Fans were pleased to see Ben Kingsley return to the MCU as Trevor Slattery in Shang-Chi. We last saw Trevor, the failed actor, in Iron Man 3 when he was playing the role of the Mandarin, the head of the Ten Rings organization. He was arrested for his crimes and sent to prison at the end of the film.

In Shang-Chi, fans discovered that the real leader of the Ten Rings, Wenwu, also known as Shang-Chi’s father, was not very happy with Trevor posing as him. So, Wenwu had his followers break Trevor out of prison. The Ten Rings then took Trevor to their compound to imprison him there.

It wasn’t overly shocking that Kingsley returned for the film, given his connection to its material. But his appearance did add another dimension to the film. And it made not only the fans happy but also the director himself.

The story behind Kingley’s return

According to Entertainment Weekly, Destin Daniel Cretton, the director of Shang-Chi, when talking about Kingsley said, “Even though in a lot of senses, he is playing the Shakespearean clown of our movie, the depth that he puts into that performance, it’s amazing. It’s amazing how serious he takes the comedy, and it shows. He gets some of the biggest laughs in the movie because I think it’s so rooted in the character work that he does.”

Cretton then goes on to describe one of their phone calls. He said, “He stopped talking to me, and I heard a voice shouting from the other room, saying, ‘Who’s on the phone? Who are you talking to?’ He says, ‘I’m talking to Destin from Marvel Studios. He wants you to be in the next movie.’ And I realized he was playing Trevor in the room. He was talking to Trevor, and Trevor was asking who he was talking to, and then I heard Trevor say, ‘Of course I’ll be in that movie. When do we leave?’ And that bit went on for like four minutes. It wasn’t just like a little joke. It was like a full scene.”

Every MCU film has a comedic element to it, and Shang-Chi found its in Ben Kingsley.

Who else joined the ‘Shang-Chi’ party?

Ben Kingsley was not the only unexpected star to pop up in Shang-Chi.

Wong, played by Benedict Wong, and Abomination appear during the film’s underground fight club scene. And Wong is later seen again at the end of the film when he invites Shang-Chi and Katy back to the Sanctum Sanctorum to talk about the Ten Rings.

Also, Carol Danvers and Bruce Banner, played by Brie Larson and Mark Ruffalo, respectively, returned in a post-credits scene. They joined Shang-Chi, Katy, and Wong in the Sanctum to discuss the origin of the Ten Rings.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters now.

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