What team does Ben Kingsley support? Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings actor's football allegiance
If you spotted the subtle reference to a Premier League team in Shang-Chi, here's what you need to know about the backstory of it and more
Eagle-eyed football fans might have noticed a certain club's scarf in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the latest installment in the blockbuster Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The film, which has an all-star cast of Tony Leung, Simu Liu and Awkafina, also references a very subtle Premier League club courtesy of Sir Ben Kingsley's character – and Goal has what you need to know about it.
Spoilers ahead for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings!
Why is Ben Kingsley in Shang-Chi?
Kingsley reprises his role as Trevor Slattery in the latest MCU blockbuster.
Slattery is a Liverpool-born actor who first made an appearance in Iron Man 3, a character hired to pose as the film's primary villain, the Mandarin. The puppet of think tank Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), the Mandarin was used in propaganda videos as a means to hide AIM's more violent and illegal Extremis experiments.
Slattery is unaware of his role that contributed to the geo-political conflicts caused by AIM, merely doing his job as a hired actor. He is arrested by Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, after the true villain Killian is captured, before being kidnapped by the Ten Rings and used as court jester for leader Xu Wenwu.
Shang-Chi crosses paths with Slattery after he is imprisoned by his father, running into the actor in their jail chamber. Shang busts Slattery out and takes him on their journey to the mystical dimension Ta Lo.
What team does Ben Kingsley support & what is the Liverpool reference in Shang-Chi?
It is during the journey to Ta Lo that Kingsley's character Slattery pulls out a Liverpool scarf to hold on to for dear life. The passage to the Ta Lo proves dangerous, with the car the characters journey in nearly getting "eaten" by the forest that contains the route to the realm. And so, in a state of panic, Slattery clutches his Liverpool scarf - the team's red colours clearly visible - perhaps as a source of comfort.
Though Kingsley himself is not from Liverpool, having grown up in Yorkshire, Slattery's character was specifically written as a Liverpudlian. Kingsley has a slight Scouse accent in his portrayal of Slattery, and mentions growing up in Liverpool – hence the affiliation with the Merseyside club.
It could be thought that Kingsley's own football allegiances inspired that of Slattery's, but not much is known about the actor's choice in football teams. He did, however, serve as the narrator for Amazon Prime's documentary All or Nothing: Manchester City – which could mean that he has some interest in the sport.
Later in the film, after successfully reaching Ta Lo, Slattery can be seen teaching the village's children football and is heard teaching them the offside rule, all the while proudly wearing his Liverpool scarf across his shoulders.
Other Liverpool references in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
With the Marvel franchise being an American entity, there haven't been too many allusions to the beautiful game, but there have still been some.
Kingsley's support of Liverpool in Shang-Chi isn't the first time it was mentioned in the MCU.
When confronting Slattery in Iron Man 3, the character is seen animatedly watching a Liverpool game on television – Liverpool vs Chelsea, to be precise, and celebrating a goal.
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