|Occupation:||leader of Holy Therns cult|
|Behind The Scenes|
Matai Shang is the Hekkador of the Therns, his goals are mysterious and enigmatic. He and the Therns are a race that travel the universe, organizing and feeding off the destruction of planets, manipulating civilizations in order to do so. It is his and the Therns' purpose to do so, however, as Shang mentions at one point that he and the Therns have been doing it for billions of years.
In the beginning of the film, the Therns arrive on Barsoom (Mars), and witness two cities, Helium and Zodanga, at war with each other, and decide to equip Zodanga with a mysterious weapon called the 9th Ray. Matai Shang and the Therns ally themselves with Sab Than, the Jeddak of Zodanga, who plans to marry the Princess of Helium, Dejah Thoris, and kill her during the wedding ceremony. When that happens, Sab Than will rule Barsoom forever, causing it to end life there, and nature will follow its intended course, which is what Matai Shang and the Therns want.
Matai Shang and the Therns help Sab Than ensure his plan goes smoothly using various means including sending a Thern to destroy Dejah's invention just as she was about to show Helium the Ninth Ray. Later, Sab Than and Shang come up with an idea to make Dejah Sab Than's wife and allow them to complete their plan of Sab Than becoming ruler. In order to do this, Shang manipulates the Great Martian Clan of Warhoon to pursue John Carter, an earthling who mysteriously arrived on Mars, Dejah and their Thark companion, Sola, and the Calot Woola, allowing Sab Than to rescue Dejah and make her reluctantly agree to marry Sab Than to end the war.
As the wedding is planned, Matai Shang meets John Carter and they go on a walk throughout Zodanga. During their walk, Shang explains to Carter the purpose of the Therns and how they travel the universe and manipulate civilizations of different planets. He also mentions that the Ninth Ray weapon must remain in the hands of Sab Than, while Dejah, and anyone else with knowledge of the Ninth Ray, will die. He then reveals to Carter Sab Than's plan to rule Barsoom, and that when Sab Than kills Dejah, her death will seal Sab Than's reign forever, completing the course the Therns have set for Barsoom. Woola, Carter's companion, suddenly appears and attacks Shang, allowing Carter to make his escape on a flying ship. Shang, unbothered by this, returns to Helium to watch Sab Than's wedding.
However, his and Sab Than's plans are forever foiled by John Carter, resulting in the death of Sab Than and the end of the war. During the battle, Shang confronts Carter and tells him that Dejah will live, but on the condition that she will fail to prove her theory of the Ninth Ray. He then drops his medallion and attempts to gain it back from Carter, Dejah and Tars Tarkas. While he is successful at retrieving his medallion, he is forced to leave the battle as Helium wins the war. Not too long after Carter's victory, Shang, using the medallion, sends Carter back to Earth before he himself leaves Mars forever.
Matai Shang is the main antagonist of the 2012 film John Carter.