Director Destin Daniel Cretton’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” hit theaters in September 2021 and went on to become a major hit. Against very positive reviews from critics and fans alike, the movie took in $432 million worldwide. Granted, that number is on the low end for an MCU film, but we were grading on a pandemic curve in 2021. It was a damn good result. That being the case, Disney would undoubtedly want to capitalize on that momentum and not wait six years or more to have a sequel in theaters.
Sony, on the other hand, got the lead out and had a new Tom Holland “Spider-Man” movie in theaters every two years, paving the way for “No Way Home” to become one of the biggest movies of all time. There’s something to be said for momentum. Granted, it doesn’t always go that way. “Across the Spider-Verse” is one of the biggest hits of 2023, serving as a sequel to a film that came out five years ago. Most similarly, looking at the MCU, there was “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which came out six years after the original “Doctor Strange” and managed to earn a massive $955 million worldwide last year.
A big part of that had to do with the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange appeared in several major MCU hits in between installments, including “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and “No Way Home.” Liu’s Shang-Chi, meanwhile, has not been seen in any movie or Disney+ show since his solo film hit theaters. Granted, there’s a great chance he shows up in “Kang Dynasty” since Cretton is directing, but that’s a few years from now. In the meantime, Marvel may be squandering some much-needed momentum with a new hero that audiences really responded to.
“Shang-Chi 2” remains without a release date.