Shang-Chi: What Exactly is Morris?

ytsfreeSeptember 18, 2022

The world of the MCU is incredibly vast and has come a long way since 2012 New York, where the biggest threat was a greasy version of Loki. There have been countless planets explored, a whole city built out of the skull of a celestial, Wakanda with its decades-ahead technology, and even a planet that is void of any color and turns everything black and white. So, naturally, the creators of the universe have had fun coming up with the inhabitants of each place. We have seen the giant screaming goats in Thor: Love and Thunder, Groot the loosely verbal tree, even the Flerkan-disguised cat Carol Danvers named Goose after the Top Gun character. So, with all of these interesting creatures and worlds and incredibly creative universes, what the heck is Morris, that thing from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings?

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The furry, winged, no-face creature whose entrance is as shocking as the appearance of Iron Man 3 villain Trevor Slattery, also known under the false alias of the terrorist The Mandarin. So, where did this supposed figment of Slattery’s imagination come from, and what is he really? Here is a breakdown on what Morris is exactly.


Morris’ Species and Background

The nicknamed “chicken-pig” called Morris is from a species known as Dijiang. These fluffy creatures originate in the realm of Ta Lo, the same place that Shang-Chi and his family come from. They are a race of guardian creatures with a six-foot wingspan and the ability to communicate through whistles and chirps. Trevor Slattery learns how to communicate with Morris, the Dijiang, and understands most of what he is trying to get across. Along with the dragon-like creatures covered in iridescent scales called Qi Lin, the Dijiang are protectors and cohorts to the royal family. Morris was first the pet of Ying Li, mother of Shang-Chi and guardian of Ta Lo. After Shang-Chi’s father found Morris, he stole him and imprisoned him in the “Earthly Plane” and in the dungeon of the Ten Rings Headquarters — or the Mandarin’s headquarters. From there, he became friends with a frazzled and slightly unstable Slattery, who believed the furry ball was a figment of his imagination until they were both broken out by Shang-Chi, Katey, and Xialing, and Morris helped them return to his home in Ta Lo.

Related: Shang-Chi: Why It’s One of the Most Underrated MCU Films

Does Morris Have Special Powers?

One of the coolest things about these furry friends, other than the fact they have no discernable face, is his special powers. Marvel loves an unexpected powerhouse, like Baby Groot annihilating an entire army, and Goose swallowing the Tesseract whole. Morris’ species have powers of their own, too. Dijiang have enhanced senses and are also able to fly with their giant wings. They also have the ability to predict future outcomes of a problem, often in the form of the exact probability something will succeed. He is also able to understand English, so can be assumed that the species is able to understand other languages than their own. That, or both Slattery and Morris spent so much time in a dungeon together, that somehow they grew to understand each other.

Related: Avengers: The Kang Dynasty Lands Shang-Chi Director Destin Daniel Cretton

Backstory on Morris’ Creation

Other than his inherent ability to be created into a best-selling plush toy, Morris and the many species we saw in Ta Lo are actually based on real Chinese legends. Qi Lin, the horse-shaped dragon creature, is one from Chinese myth who is known for their kindness and nobility, and are often at the side of a god. They also are known for pursuing evil in tales. The next creature we see in the movie is the nine-tailed fox. Looking an awful lot like a Pokémon, this may be why. The Nine-Tailed fox appeared in myths as both a sign of peace and wisdom, and also was demonized, claimed to transform into a luring woman. The other creature we are introduced to is the giant lion-like animals that have been a staple in Chinese culture and stories for centuries. The lions serve as guardians and protectors to sacred places, much like the Marvel Universe world of Ta Lo.

Along with these creatures, the Dijiang is also not a made-up creature specific to Shang-Chi. Morris is the part of the race of mountain-dwelling gods that are the physical body of Hundun, the god of Chaos. All of these creatures are actual legends that are many years old. Marvel pulls from actual mythology, like we’ve seen in the Norse myths, and uses them to cleverly craft their universes to make them even more grounded and believable.

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