In iron man 3 and the spin-off short “Hail to the King”, we learn that the terrorists have co-opted the name of a legendary warlord, using the title “The Mandarin” as a figurehead to scare off support for increased military funding. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings goes even further, showing the inspiration for the Mandarin to be Xu Wenwu, a former warlord whose power stems from the ten rings he wears as bracelets on each arm (a break from the ten rings worn on each finger from the Mandarin comic strip).
Shang Chi explores the powers granted by the rings, which eventually pass to the titular hero, the son of Wenwu, who uses them to thwart the demonic Dweller in the Darkness. In the film’s post-credit sequence, Shang-Chi and his partner Katy are summoned by the Sorcerer Supreme Wong to investigate the Rings alongside Captain Marvel and Bruce Banner. Although none of the three can identify the source of the rings, they note that they are well over 1000 years old and are sending a signal to an unknown receiver.
Captain Marvel and Agents of SHIELD
Although Carol Danvers does not acknowledge the source of Shang-Chi’s rings, Kamala’s bracelet is perhaps more familiar. When Aisha and Najma find the bracelet in 1942, it is still connected to a severed arm. The fact that the arm is severed bothers them, but not the fact that the arm is blue. MCU fans probably won’t be shocked either, as we’ve seen blue-skinned aliens on a regular basis as members of the Kree Empire. A militaristic society focused on order and dominance, the Kree provided the main guardians of the galaxy the antagonist Ronan the Accuser and the source of Carol Danvers’ powers in Captain Marvel.
The Kree have also appeared in several episodes of Agents of SHIELD. Throughout the series, Phil Coulson and his agents uncover a history of Kree experimentation on humans, activities that resulted in superpowered people, including the Inhumans. The Kree also made treaties with Hydra for their own purposes, giving the Nazi splinter group weapons of extraordinary power. Agents learn that the Kree have worked on Earth for centuries, even as they go to war with other races, such as the Skrulls.
In the comics, the Kree are central to the origins of Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel. Because they created the Inhumans, their technology allows Ms. Marvel to gain abilities. Additionally, many of the heroes who used the Captain Marvel moniker were Kree themselves – particularly the first Captain Marvel Mar-Vell and his son Genis-Vell – who both drew their abilities from the Nega-Bands, the bracelets. which they wore on their wrists. Given the history of Kree interference already established in the MCU, it wouldn’t be surprising if the race brought the bracelet to Earth.
Perhaps the deepest connection is also the most clearly stated. Midway through the episode, Najma reveals that she, Aisha, and their compatriots are ancient aliens from another dimension, who were mistaken for various mystical creatures, including the jinn that haunted young Kamala. But they call themselves the underground, refugees trying to return to their home dimension of Noor.