‘Shang-Chi’: Early Audiences Believed There Were Pokémon Characters in the Film

Worlds and characters crossing over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nothing new. But when audiences who saw early screenings of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings thought that Marvel was incorporating Pokémon characters into its universe, Kevin Feige made a point to set the record straight.

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

Kevin Feige smiles and wears a hat at the premiere of 'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.'
Kevin Feige | Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The MCU film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings tells the origin story of Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu. In the film, he must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film is full of surprises, masterfully choreographed fights, world-building, and amazing special effects.

Shang-Chi’s journey eventually leads him to Ta Lo, the ancient village where his mother came from. Ta Lo protects the world from the evil that is the Dweller-in-Darkness. There is where fans can see creatures inspired by Chinese mythology run rampant.

There are dragons, Fenghuang, guardian lions, Hunduns, Qilins, and Huli Jings in Ta Lo. But fans not familiar with Chinese mythological creatures believed that these animals were actually Pokémon.

Kevin Feige sets the record straight

Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios, wants to clarify that the MCU was not crossing over with the Pokémon world in Shang-Chi.

In an interview with Collider, Feige said, “The only thing that’s surprised me in early reactions, and I don’t know if this has been online, but it was in some of the early screenings, a lot of the reference points…Some people think there are a couple of Pokémon characters in there, they’re not Pokémon characters, but they are inspired by similar things, I guess, which took me by surprise.”

As mentioned before, Marvel has pulled off some big surprises in its films. So, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that Pokémon exist in the MCU. Unfortunately for fans of both franchises, this wasn’t the case in Shang-Chi.

Which Pokémon do the ‘Shang-Chi’ animals resemble?

The Huli Jing is the creature that most prominently resembles a Pokémon in Shang-Chi. In Shang-Chi and Chinese mythology, the Huli Jings are beautiful shape-shifting spirits. The Huli Jing is a nine-tailed fox, so some of the audiences at the film’s early screenings believed that the animals were actually Ninetales from Pokémon. The Huli Jing did inspire the creation of Ninetales, though, so it’s easy to see where fans got confused.

Pokémon creatures, in general, were inspired by Chinese mythology. So the comparison between the creatures in Shang-Chi and Pokémon characters makes sense.

Unfortunately, Kevin Feige has a clear-cut answer to this question. Pokémon are not featured in Shang-Chi, and they probably will not be crossing over with the MCU any time soon.

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

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