In the first trailer for Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” we see actor Simu Liu in action as the comic book hero for the first time.
We learn he was raised by his father (Tony Leung) to become a deadly assassin. After 10 years of living his own life in America, his father summons him, but he defies his father’s wishes by refusing to join his criminal empire.
Shang-Chi’s stunning martial-arts skills come as a bit of a shock to his friend Katy (Awkwafina) when he fends off attackers on an out-of-control bus in San Francisco. (She, meanwhile, is at the wheel, much like Sandra Bullock in “Speed.”)
We also see two battles — one apparently modern, one set in the distant past — that feature very large, furry (and somewhat blurry) animals. Those appear to be temple lion dogs, who, we assume, have magically come to life.
ScreenRant breaks it down:
The giant lions in the trailer are most likely Chinese guardian lions, sometimes referred to as foo dogs (which don’t appear in the comics). The still-popular icon dates back to Imperial China; the uniquely stylized lions were commonly carved out of ornate materials to make statues that stood watch over places of note, such as Imperial palaces or tombs. The concept is associated with Chinese Buddhism, and — like in the trailer — the lions often appear in pairs: male and female, representing yin and yang.
This Tofugo post gives even more extensive background on the lions dogs in different Asian cultures:
If you’ve ever been to a shrine in Japan, odds are you’ve seen a pair of dog-like lions flanking the entrance. If you’ve been to Okinawa you’ve seen them just about everywhere. In fact you can see some variation on these creatures in China, Korea, Myanmar, Tibet, and other East Asian countries, or even at Chinese restaurants in the West. They are variously known in English as lions, dogs, lion dogs, Fu dogs or Foo dogs. In Japan they are called komainu 狛犬, and in Okinawa they are shīsā.
Variety has more theories on the Ten Rings (which are very similar to the Infinity Stones) and how they fit into the MCU. Also, how the movie differs from the original ’70s comic.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” opens in theaters on September 3.