Marvel fans got a shock when they watched the first trailers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, only to see the most unlikely crossover cameo in the world: Incredible Hulk's Abomination showing up in Shang-Chi! The trailer revealed that Abomination has re-surfaced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a contender in the underground fighting rings that Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) participates in. Abomination (Tim Roth) is seen battling Doctor Strange's buddy Wong (Benedict Wong), and from the look of things, Emil Blonksy's gamma-induced mutation has progressed, because Shang-Chi's version of Abomination looks very different than Incredible Hulk's version!
In a new interview, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton explains why Abomination's look has changed so drastically since the last time we saw the character in The Incredible Hulk:
"I think Abomination got a bit of an upgrade… or we might call it an evolution going through time. I do really love the design that we landed on for that character," Cretton told Fandango. "He's big and scary and looks really cool. I can't really say anything about Abomination [laughs]."
The Incredible Hulk remains the cult-favorite installment of the MCU saga - a rare off-step for the franchise that wasn't at all a failure but never fit in quite right with the rest of the larger franchise storyline and canon. Edward Norton was recast as Bruce Banner with Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, while the villains established in the film (Roth's Abomination and Tim Blake Nelson's The Thinker) were both left on the sidelines. Marvel fans have been waiting for some time to see the events of Incredible Hulk revisited, and Abomination's re-appearance is the first step in that direction. It's also a timely return, as the Hulk mythos is about to expand into an entire franchise of its own once again, thanks to the upcoming She-Hulk series on Disney+.
She-Hulk will introduce Jennifers Walters (Tatiana Maslany) and her She-Hulk persona - but the series will also see Mark Ruffalo's Hulk and Tim Roth's Abomination also show up. So, it's a good thing that Shang-Chi will establish what Blonsky has been going through up until the events of Shang-Chi in present-day MCU, that way fans will already know the threat that's coming in She-Hulk.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be in theaters on September 3rd? You can see it on Disney+ around mid-October.