How The Ten Rings Can Replace Daredevil’s Villains In The MCU (& Be Better)


Even Marvel Television struggled to figure out how to bring Daredevil’s enemies the Hand to life – but Shang-Chi showed a way through the Ten Rings.

Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings set up the Ten Rings criminal organization as a potential replacement for the Hand, classic Daredevil enemies who were previously used by Marvel Television. When Marvel Television launched their popular Daredevil series on Netflix, starring Charlie Cox as the titular hero, that naturally meant they had to dive into the character’s lore and backstory. Their version of Daredevil had been trained to participate in an unending war between two rival secret societies – which meant he soon wound up going head-to-head with the dangerous ninja cult known as the Hand.


The Hand may number among Marvel’s most well-known criminal empires, but there’s just one problem; they’re largely faceless, with most members clad in black or red robes. That makes for stunning comic book visuals, as heroes like Daredevil and Wolverine tear their way through armies of ninjas as a demonstration of their skill, but it doesn’t really make for great TV where the focus really needs to lie on characterization. Marvel Television redesigned the Hand, and in The Defenders they revealed the Hand’s ancient backstory and gave them five leaders to serve as their “faces. “Unfortunately, The Defenders failed to receive the popular and critical acclaim Marvel hoped for; with the benefit of hindsight, its poor reception marked the beginning of the end for the entire partnership between Marvel and Netflix. Now, there can be no doubt Marvel Studios is considering the best way to use the idea of ​​the Hand as part of the mainstream MCU – especially given reports Charlie Cox will be returning as a rebooted Daredevil.

Related: Marvel Confirms Why Bruce Banner Is No Longer Smart-Hulk In Shang-Chi

Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings may have provided an answer. It revealed the history of another ancient organization, the Ten Rings, founded by the quasi-immortal Wenwu centuries ago. The Ten Rings have been a shadowy force since the Middle Ages, operating from the shadows, conducting secret missions that have changed the course of human history. They typically employ a loose cell structure, with their leader providing oversight. The similarities between the Hand and the Ten Rings are striking, and particularly visible among their leadership, where there’s a distinct preference for martial arts. There is, however, one crucial difference between the Ten Rings and the Hand; the Ten Rings seem to have always valued individuality a lot more than the Hand (in either the comics or in their Marvel Television version). The Ten Rings cell seen in Hombre de Hierro had its own distinct leader, Race, and it’s telling that Shang-chi focused on individual ranking members of the Ten Rings as well – including Razor-Fist, whose MCU story is far from complete. These distinctions make the group the prime candidate to replace the homogenous Hand.


Shang-chi‘s post-credits revealed Xialing has taken charge of the Ten Rings, a heel turn that will surely drive further conflict in the MCU – especially given Marvel is promoting her brother Shang-Chi as a new Avenger. But Marvel could expand upon this by establishing further connections between new heroes and the Ten Rings, perhaps adapting the story of Daredevil and Elektra to embrace this martial arts secret society instead of the Hand. Marvel could further switch things up by introducing the Chaste, a rival secret society to the Hand in the comics, but setting them up as enemies of the Ten Rings instead.

In truth, the story potential of the Ten Rings is phenomenal. Shang-chi subtly hints that Xialing is an adherent of the Red Skull’s philosophy, and her experience at the Golden Daggers fight club means she has significant inroads into the superhuman community. The Ten Rings could easily prove to be one of the most dangerous threats in the MCU so far, a well-connected global conspiracy with skilled martial artists. Marvel would be wise to combine them with the Hand, setting up a prospectively exciting future for Daredevil in the process.

More: Shang-Chi’s Ending Repeats A Problem We Thought The MCU Had Evolved Past

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