While Marvel's Phase 4 has brought a number of supporting heroes into the spotlight with WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Marvel's current phase has also introduced a slew of new characters into the MCU.
In 2021 alone, Marvel fans have been introduced to Loki's Mobius and Sylvie, Black Widow's Yelena Belova, Shang-Chi, and WandaVision's now-adult Monica Rambeau, and it looks to add a whole new ensemble of heroes in Eternals.
However, the studio isn't just focused on newcomers.
In Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Marvel brought back a character fans haven't seen since 2008; and this time, he may stick around.
Abomination's Tim Roth Talks Marvel's She-Hulk
Thirteen years after his role as Emil Blonsky (Abomination) in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Tim Roth has returned to the MCU.
After his brief cameo alongside Benedict Wong in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Roth's Abomination is set to appear in 2022's She-Hulk on Disney+ starring Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner aka the Hulk.
In talking with The Hollywood Reporter, Roth opened up about returning to the role and credited Mark Ruffalo for helping him find his way, saying, "Oh, that's how you do it! With a sense of humor:"
"I did The Incredible Hulk [playing Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination] years ago, just because I thought my kids would be embarrassed by it. I did it for them and I really enjoyed making it. So when they came to me and said: 'We’re adapting the She-Hulk thing. Can you come back as that character again?' I was like, sure. It should be fun. I was very surprised though because it was difficult at first. It was only when Mark Ruffalo came in to shoot his stuff [reprising his role as Bruce Banner] that I went: 'Oh, that’s how you do it! With a sense of humor!'"
In 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner was played by Edward Norton.
Mark Ruffalo was recast as Banner and the Hulk for 2012's The Avengers, offering a whole new take on the character that managed to balance intelligence with, as Roth explained, humor.
She-Hulk will follow lawyer Jennifer Walters - Bruce Banner's cousin - who also knows that it's not easy being green in a half-hour legal drama that features both Ruffalo and Roth.
According to Shang-Chi's director Destin Daniel Cretton, Roth's Abomination "got a bit of an upgrade" as his appearance in the recent film is slightly different than what audiences last saw him. However, he's not the only one.
Those who stayed in the theater for Shang-Chi's post-credits scenes know that Mark Ruffalo's Smart Hulk is back to being just Bruce Banner; although, his arm is still in a sling due to Smart Hulk's snap in Avengers: Endgame. What that means for She-Hulk remains to be seen.
Abomination & Bruce Banner's Surprising Return
Roth's Abomination in both Shang-Chi and She-Hulk isn't just a satisfying way to connect the MCU's past with its present, but it also opens up a number of possibilities.
It's also possible, considering Bruce Banner's status in Shang-Chi, that audiences could witness the return of Emil Blonsky - and not just Abomination - in the upcoming series, especially since he's not the big bad in this Hulk-centric drama.
The role of the show's villain belongs to Jameela Jamil who plays Titania - another character who gained powers through radiation in Marvel Comics.
While the nature of Roth's role as Abomination remains to be seen, his cameo in Shang-Chi - coupled with Ruffalo's surprising return as Banner - implies that Marvel wants fans to remember these characters and ask these questions.
As to the answers, audiences will have to wait a bit longer.
She-Hulk is set to debut on Disney+ sometime in 2022.