Marvel Phase 4: 'Shang-Chi' Captain Marvel Crossover Teases an Avenger Plot

This could be a big deal for Phase 4 of the MCU.

Shang-Chi will make his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2021, but he may not be alone. The director of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings teased the possibility of Brie Larson’s Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel making an appearance in Shang-Chi’s first-ever movie, and that could have big ramifications for the MCU.

At the Toronto International Film Festival, MTV News asked director Destin Daniel Cretton about the possibility of Larson’s Marvel hero being included in Shang-Chi, due to the fact the director has featured Larson in virtually all of his movies thus far. The two have worked together on Cretton’s films Short Term 12 (2013), The Glass Castle (2017), and Just Mercy, which made its premiere at TIFF.

Cretton coyly told MTV News, “I think there’s always room for Brie. But I don’t know, we’ll see.”

It’s a long shot, but if Cretton is indeed playing cute and is hiding a Captain Marvel appearance, Shang-Chi could be adapting elements from Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers.

In Hickman’s fifth volume of Avengers #11, published in 2013, Shang-Chi teams up with Captain Marvel, Black Widow, and Sunspot and Cannonball from the New Mutants to spy on the villainous group A.I.M. (Advanced Ideas Mechanics) in Macau. The issue pays homage to classic spy capers, with all of the heroes playing specific roles in order to secure a powerful secret weapon. Things go well until Shang-Chi gets involved with a bunch of ninjas called Chimera, who also want to steal from A.I.M.

Cover of 'Avengers' #11, featuring Shang-Chi and Captain Marvel alongside Black Widow, Sunspot, Cannonball, and Spider-Woman.

Marvel Entertainment

Naturally, fans shouldn’t expect a one-to-one adaptation of a fun but not unforgettable issue of Hickman’s Avengers (which as a whole is fantastic). Marvel Studios has repeatedly shown that the MCU will take elements from popular storylines and riff them; Captain America: Civil War was not a strict adaptation of the 2006 crossover Civil War, nor was Avengers: Infinity War a direct live-action copy of the 1992 miniseries The Infinity Gauntlet.

Still, Captain Marvel and Shang-Chi, at the very least, aren’t strangers to each other. So there’s no reason why their characters couldn’t hang out and be buds on the big screen, either.

Cretton is currently promoting his latest film Just Mercy, a period drama about Walter McMillian, an Alabama man on death row who was convicted for a murder he did not commit. The film stars Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Brie Larson appears in the role of attorney Eva Ansley, who was involved in proving McMillan’s innocence. The film has received mostly positive reviews and is scheduled to have a wide release in January 2020.

Whether it’s emotional human dramas or Marvel superhero movies, Cretton told MTV News his approach is the same. “For me the approach to everything is the same. I search for the story through the characters and I search through the themes through something that I will really emotionally connect with and that’s what we’re dealing with that.”

Little is known about Shang-Chi’s movie, in which the martial arts superhero will go toe-to-toe against an ancient, global terrorist known as the Mandarin. While Shang-Chi could probably take on the Mandarin solo, fans should keep their eyes peeled in case Captain Marvel (or any other of his Avengers friends) comes along for the ride.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released in theaters on February 12, 2021.

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