SHANG-CHI: The MORRIS-MYCELIUM NETWORK Connection
Have you had a chance to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings yet, Marvel Blog True Believers? The movie arrived in theaters yesterday, September 3rd, 2021, and with it comes the answer to a question we’ve been asking here at Marvel Blog for several months now: who is Morris?
SPOILER WARNING: If you have not yet had the opportunity to see Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings yet and don’t want to be spoiled, then kindly navigate away from this page now!
Morris the Navigator
- “Where is his face?”
“He’s a bit sensitive about that.”
- ― Katy Bashir and Trevor Slattery
Morris – who is voiced by Dee Bradley Baker – is introduced in the third act of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. And while the movie introduces many new integral characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (obviously), like Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and Marvel’s Katy (Awkwafina), it’s Morris, their adorable furry, faceless friend, who makes sure our new heroes live to fight another day.
Morris is based on a Dijiang, a mythological creature that commonly has six legs and four wings, according to an article in Murphy’s Multiverse describing a passage from a book from University of California Press, A Chinese Bestiary: Strange Creatures from the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. According to the article, the book describes the creatures as being “associated with the being of cosmic chaos.”
A mythological creature who originated in Ta-Lo, Morris offers the essential navigation our heroes need to make it back to that legendary village (which is actually in another dimension). I guess it makes sense that he would be on the cover of a book that is about “creatures from the guideways through mountains,” Marvel Blog True Believers!
Ripper, Ephriam, Dijiang… & Ant-Man
The way that Morris uses his mythical abilities to navigate reminds of a creature from another fantastic story: Star Trek: Discovery!
In the first season of that series – in fact, in the first episodes, so if you haven’t seen the show before, you can just start from the beginning on Paramount+ – viewers learned that tardigrades, which are microscopic creatures that live on Earth (and are kinda immortal), can travel to any point in the galaxy thanks to their ability to navigate the mycelium network.
This is an awful lot like Morris and his ability to navigate the mythical forest, Marvel Blog True Believers!
They also kind of look the same: both have multiple legs, and they are kind of lacking a conventional face (although the tardigrade has more of a mouth than Morris does). And while Morris has wings, we often see the tardigrade floating in space, which is just like flying, isn’t it?
And if you want to see some tardigrade action in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, rewatch Ant-Man and the Wasp on Disney+!
More Morris Please
Will we be seeing more Morris before too long? We sure hope so, Marvel Blog True Believers! Let us know what you think of this adorable new addition to the MCU roster in the comment section.
Featured Image: CBS/Marvel Studios