Shang-Chi prepares to fight.

Master of Kang Fu

Shang-Chi 2’s rumored release date could mean big things for Avengers 5

The Master of Kung Fu is poised to play a major role in Phase Six on the MCU.

Marvel Studios

When Marvel fans last saw Shang-Chi, played by Simu Liu, he was kicking it with Wong in a karaoke bar. But the next time the Master of Kung Fu shows up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it will likely be for something more important than singing The Eagles’ greatest hits.

Since September 15, rumors have circulated on Reddit’s r/MarvelStudiosSpoilers that one of Marvel’s targeted release dates for its Phase Six slate — February 14, 2025 — is reserved for a sequel to last year’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. (Happy Valentine’s Day!)

What’s interesting about that release date, aside from its timing around both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year (kicking off in 2025 on January 29) is that director Destin Daniel Cretton, who is slated to write and direct the sequel to Shang-Chi, is also helming the next film in Marvel’s 2025 calendar — and it’s a big one. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.

It should be repeated that this release date for Shang-Chi 2 is only a rumor, and a lot of things can happen before movies open in theaters. These include staffing changes, script rewrites, and even rescheduling. Nothing is set in stone until these movies are actually released. (Especially not the VFX.)

But right now, it’s irresistible to speculate on the story possibilities given the Cretton connection between Shang-Chi 2 and Avengers 5. Little is known about either movie’s plot; there are no obvious storylines for a Shang-Chi sequel to adapt, as Marvel has more or less distanced itself from the source Master of Kung Fu comics.

The Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings post-credits teased the Ten Rings as only one piece of a larger puzzle. How could the weapons factor in to The Kang Dynasty?Marvel Studios

Meanwhile The Kang Dynasty is set to be a very loose adaptation of Kurt Busiek’s epic Avengers storyline, which published between June 2001 to August 2002. The comic, which tells of Kang the Conqueror’s successful, ahem, conquering of Earth, starred characters who have either perished or haven’t yet been shown in the MCU, like Iron Man, Warbird, and Black Knight. It also includes Wonder Man, a character Cretton is also developing a series around for Disney+.

The post-credits of Shang-Chi nodded to something bigger at play with Shang-Chi, from his unofficial membership as an Avenger to the strange origins of the Ten Rings. Should Cretton handle both Shang-Chi 2 and Kang Dynasty, what’s next for Shang-Chi may be inextricably tied to what’s next for Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors), who first appeared in the finale of Loki, and is set to return next year in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.

Here’s some fun speculation of our own: Perhaps the Ten Rings is an ancient weapon developed by Kang, and the signal it’s broadcasting throughout the multiverse is a glorified “Find My iPhone” function for Kang to track down and re-obtain what belongs to him. This allows Kang to come to Earth-616, gain further power from the Ten Rings, and ascend to rule Earth. This forces the Avengers to reassemble for the first time since Endgame to try to stop him.

Jonathan Majors, who first appeared as “He Who Remains” in Loki, will return as Kang the Conqueror in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. The character will star as the villain of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, which will be directed by Shang-Chi helmer Destin Daniel Cretton.Marvel Studios

At Comic-Con 2022, Marvel Studios planted several dates on the calendar for its Phase Six slate. At the time, it only provided ambiguous dates like “Winter 2024” and “Spring 2025.” The only movies confirmed for Phase Six so far are Fantastic Four (November 5, 2024), Avengers: The Kang Dynasty (May 2, 2025), and Avengers: Secret Wars (November 7, 2025).

After Comic-Con, outlets like Deadline and BoxOfficeReport reported that Marvel locked down specific dates, including Valentine’s Day 2025. Marvel hasn’t confirmed what movie will actually bow on February 14 that year, but we can wager Shang-Chi will stop singing and start punching for the holiday season.

There is no confirmed release date for Shang-Chi 2. Avengers: The Kang Dynasty will open in theaters on May 2, 2025.