After years of rumors surrounding the character, Shang-Chi will finally make his MCU debut in his own solo film this year, played by Kim's Convenience actor Simu Liu.
The Mandarin will also make his first true live-action appearance this year after the villain was teased back in 2013's Iron Man 3. But Tony Leung's Ten Rings leader won't be the only villain involved as the Abomination is coming back for the first time since The Incredible Hulk hit theaters over a decade ago.
It appears Marvel Studios has big plans lined up for Tim Roth's Hulk villain as he is also set to return in the She-Hulk Disney+ series which will stream next year.
How exactly Abomination may fit into Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is unclear, but the first trailer showcased the character taking on Doctor Strange's Wong in an organized cage fight.
After thirteen years since the character made his MCU debut, CGI has come a long way, meaning the Abomination looks better than ever within the Shang-Chi trailer.
The character has seen a clear redesign for his big return which the film's director finally addressed.
SHANG-CHI DIRECTOR TALKS ABOMINATION
In a recent interview with Fandango, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings director Destin Daniel Cretton teased how The Incredible Hulk's Abomination has evolved since the 2008 film.
When asked how Tim Roth's giant villain factors into the plot of the kung-fu flick, the director described that Abomination is still “big and scary,” but he “can't really say anything” about him for now:
“He's big and scary and looks really cool. I can't really say anything about Abomination.”
Cretton was then asked about the changes to Abomination's design since his last appearance, to which he described that the character “got a bit of an upgrade” for his return, calling it “an evolution going through time:”
“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.”
ABOMINATION'S EVOLUTION — LITERAL OR METAPHORICAL?
The Abomination has seen a drastic overhaul made to his design for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings compared to his The Incredible Hulk debut. The most notable changes include the darker green skin tone, the spikes popping out across his body, and the partial use of Tim Roth's face as opposed to a totally CGI design.
Marvel Studios has made significant changes to character designs in the past, from the various Hulk designs over the years to even recasting characters altogether. While these changes have rarely been met with any in-universe explanation, Cretton's wording here may suggest Abomination may receive a slightly different treatment.
Granted, it's possible the director may just be hesitant to call his redesign a direct upgrade over past filmmaker's work, or it's equally possible he is teasing that Abomination has literally evolved over the years.
Aside from a few mentions in Agents of SHIELD which stated he was being held in a cryo-cell in Alaska, Emil Blonsky aka Abomination hasn't been mentioned in the MCU since his debut.
Since Agents of SHIELD's canon status has been called into question a multitude of times, Shang-Chi will need to address where the character has been all these years. Although, depending on the size of the villain's role in the film, that job may be left to 2022's She-Hulk Disney+ series in which he will return once again.
It's hard to imagine why Abomination would end up in a cage match with a powerful sorcerer like Wong, but all ought to become clear when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3, 2021.