Post-Credits Scene Explained: Who is Shang-Chi’s Xialing?
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, viewers are introduced to a whole new set of Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, including the eponymous Shang-Chi (Simu Liu). In addition to Shang-Chi himself, you also meet the other members of his family: his powerful father, Wenwu (Tony Leung); his late mother, Ying Li (Fala Chen); and his sister, Xialing (Meng’er Zhang).
But what role does Shang-Chi’s younger sister, Xialing, play in Shang-Chi?
SPOILER WARNING: If you aren’t one of the many people who has had a chance to go see the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie in theaters yet (because maybe you’re high risk like me) and don’t want to be spoiled, then leave this page right now!
Who Is Xialing?
Over the course of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, we learn that when Shang-Chi and Xialing were children, their mother was brutally murdered as revenge for their father’s criminal history… and the children watched it happen (that’s some PTSD-producing stuff, Marvel).
As he ages into a teenager, Shang-Chi (who is played by Jayden Tianyi Zhang) is trained in deadly martial arts by Wenwu, their father. Meanwhile, Xialing’s training, which had begun under her mother (who was trained in a martial arts technique unique to her home, the legendary village of Ta-Lo), is stopped… and it seems like she might be bitter about it, so she eventually show’s Wenwu what she can do (but more on that soon).
Then, when Shang-Chi turns fifteen, Wenwu sends him to assassinate his mother’s murderer (in this type of family dynamic trope, a father wracked with guilt will misplace his blame on the undeserving). While Shang-Chi is successful in this terrible mission, he is overwhelmed by guilt, and does not return to Wenwu’s compound after the mission is complete.
Instead, he heads to San Francisco to live the dream under the perhaps not distinct enough alias of Shaun.
According to dialogue in the movie, Xialing held out hope that Shang-Chi would return… for six whole years. But when it became clear that Shang-Chi would not come back, she left their father’s home herself, establishing her own personal legacy as the head of a high-profile fight club in Macau.
In Xialing’s new position at the fight club, she uses the skills she learned from Ying Li… but she turns her back on the legacy of Wenwu.
However, just as her brother, Shang-Chi, ultimately embraces an element of his father’s legacy by taking control of the Ten Rings, so too does Xialing ultimately accept that her father’s legacy is a part of her, just like her mother’s legacy.
In the final post-credits scene, we see Xialing step up as leader of her late father’s organization, The Ten Rings. In a shot that is framed in exactly the same was as we saw Wenwu at the height of his powers, we see Xialing sitting upon her throne…
And it’s anyone’s guess what move this newly ascended and incredibly powerful figurehead will make next, but she’s assembled an army of powerful female warriors to fight by her side – something that doubles as a subtle hint that the new leader of the Ten Rings will run the organization much differently than her father.
If you want to know more about Shang-Chi’s extended family, click here for information on his mother’s sister.
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