Some Audiences Thought Mythical Creatures in ‘Shang-Chi’ Were Pokémon

  • “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” features plenty of mythological creatures.
  • One of them is a nine-tailed fox-like animal who is based off of a creature from Chinese mythology.
  • Kevin Feige said early audiences got confused and thought the movie had Pokémon characters.

Warning: Spoiler ahead for Marvel’s newest film.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is steeped in Chinese mythology.

When Simu Liu’s titular hero and his companions enter the ancient village of Ta Lo, the dimension that protects Earth from the Dweller-in-Darkness, audiences are introduced to a host of mystical and mythological creatures.

These include phoenixes, lion-like creatures, strange-looking horses, and a fox with nine tails. According to Marvel chief Kevin Feige, these fantastical additions (new to the MCU) led some audiences to think there were Pokémon in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

Shang-Chi mythical creatures

The mythical creatures in “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

Marvel Studios


In an interview with Collider, Feige said: “The only thing that’s surprised me in early reactions, and I don’t know if this has been online, but it was in some of the early screenings, a lot of the reference points…Some people think there are a couple of Pokémon characters in there.”

He continued: “They’re not Pokémon characters, but they are inspired by similar things, I guess, which took me by surprise.”

Huli Jing Chinese mythology

Both the “Shang-Chi” creatures and the Pokémon Ninetales were based off of the Huli Jing.

Nine-Tailed Fox Drawn by Shi Lin


One in particular, a majestic fox-like creature, is known as Huli Jing in Chinese mythology. Huli Jing are nine-tailed fox spirits that were first described in an ancient Chinese text called the Classic of Mountain and Sea, which is at least 2,000 years old. 

In the text, Huli Jing are described as shape-shifting spirits who eat men and have cries that sound like babies. They make a brief appearance in “Shang-Chi” but seem much more benevolent than their man-devouring origins.

Incidentally, it also looks remarkably like the Pokémon called Ninetales, a Fire-type Pokémon with yellow fur and nine tails. The “Shang-Chi” creatures specifically appear very similar to the white-furred, shiny versions of Ninetales that can be found in “Pokémon Red and Blue” and “Pokémon Sword and Shield.”

Ninetales was also based off of the Huli Jing creatures, so their comparisons to the “Shang-Chi” creatures make sense.

Shiny Nintales Pokemon Sword and Shield

The shiny Ninetales, as found in “Pokémon Sword and Shield.”

Nintendo/The Pokémon Company


Several other creatures that can be seen in “Shang-Chi” are based off of mythological creatures that can be found in the Classic of Mountain and Sea, including Morris.

Production designer Sue Chan previously confirmed to Insider that Morris and fellow members of his species are based off of Dijiangs, which are faceless creatures with six legs and wings. In the movie, Morris is Trevor Slattery’s companion and is actually voiced by legendary voice-actor Dee Bradley Baker.

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