What is the monster in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

What is the monster in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

If you’ve just finished watching Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Rings, then you might have a few questions, including what and who is the monster that appears at the end of the film. If you haven’t seen the film yet then you might not want to read on.

Sealed behind a door and guarded by the people of Ta Lo, the beast has been imprisoned for centuries, but when it pretends to be Xu Wenwu’s dead wife, it draws the power of the powerful rings to the gates holding it back. When Xu uses the ten rings to smash the door, the monster finally breaks free and you get a glimpse of the behemoth in all it’s terrifying glory. It’s a bit like a huge flying Kaiju of Godzilla proportions with tentacles and a team of mini demons that harvest souls to feed to the big guy.

The good news is that Shang-Chi is able to defeat the monster in the end with the help of his bestie Katie, sister Xialing and the power of the ten rings. It looks like he blitzed up its insides with the rings acting like the blades of a food processor with chunks of thing flying all over the place, which was pretty cool.

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Who is the monster?

Unlike the dragon, the Great Protector (pictured above), the monster at the end of Shiang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has featured in Marvel comics since 1974. It’s called the Dweller-in-the-Darkness and it hasn’t always been quite so big or soul devouring in the past, but it definitely worked well in the film.

It’s essentially a demon that was initially mentioned in a Thor comic, but went on to make it’s full debut in Doctor Strange. It has never been linked to Shiang-Chi before, so it’s interesting to see it as the final boss for the film.

Instead, it has historically been linked with the Sorcerer Supreme, but with Wong’s appearance in the film and the end credits scene that takes place at the Sanctum Sanctorum, it looks like the two factions are going to be linked in the future, so it kind of ties in well enough.

Previously, the monster fed on the fear of others, instead of devouring their souls as in the film. The soul eating gives it a good amount of menace, so it feels like a good addition to the film. In Marvel comics, it was pretty indestructible, but it looks like it’s been pretty well destroyed now, so that seems to be the end of things for the Dweller-in-the-Darkness.

However, in the comics, it’s immortality was linked to it being able to separate it’s head from it’s body to live on, so it’s not impossible for some kind of return for the soul-chomping freak.

The beacon reveal at the end of The Legend of the Ten Rings seems to be calling someone or something to earth, so it’s going to be interesting to see how Shang-Chi shapes up when the series continues.

We’re also wondering whether or not he’ll feature in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness with the connection to Wong. However, there are no details or firm rumours for this at the moment, so it’s a case of watch this space at the moment.

Is the monster Cthulhu?

The short answer is no, but if you noticed the similarities you get two points and an ethereal high five. In the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, the Dweller-in-the-Darkness was the sire of Cthulhu, so the similar appearance is less a coincidence and more a simple matter of godly genetics. Clearly someone at Marvel is a big fan of Lovecraft sci-fi lore.

In the comics, the character looked more like a human with a tentacled face, which is similar to the description of Cthulhu’s by H. P. Lovecraft in The Call of Ctulhu”. It’s a bit like the Dark Asher monster in Carnival Row, which also seemed to take inspiration from the American writer.

However, in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the Dweller-in-the-Darkness is a whole lot bigger and flies around on giant wings a bit like King Ghidorah from Godzilla. It’s definitely less human-like than the depiction in the comics or Cthulhu for that matter, bit the tentacles, arms, wings and upright legs match up nonetheless.

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