The Abomination (Tim Roth) may have a bigger future in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe than fans realized. Marvel already announced that Abomination and his alter ego, Emil Blonsky, was cast in She-Hulk on Disney+. However, the gamma-powered monster’s surprise appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings indicates the Abomination will have an even greater presence in the MCU than first thought.
Abomination has only made one MCU appearance in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk but the massive brute has the distinction of being the second supervillain in the MCU after Jeff Bridges’ Obediah Stane/Iron Monger in Iron Man. Abomination’s human side, Emil Blonsky, was a British Royal Marine working for General Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt). Ross enhanced Blonsky with the Super Soldier Serum but he was still no match for the Hulk (Edward Norton). Blonsky then infused himself with Bruce Banner’s gamma-irradiated blood, which mutated Blonsky into the creature dubbed the Abomination. However, the Hulk defeated Abomination in Harlem and escaped capture. The Abomination was apprehended and held in cryo-stasis within S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Alaska facility called the Vault. That was the last time fans saw the Abomination, although he was mentioned in the Marvel One-Shot titled The Consultant. The World Security Council intended to release Blonsky so he could be part of the Avengers but that plan was foiled in favor of the Hulk joining the Avengers instead.
Shang-Chi shows the Abomination cage fighting against Doctor Strange’s Wong (Benedict Wong), Doctor Strange’s partner as part of Xialing’s underground fight club. In the MCU timeline, it’s been about 15 years since Abomination was last seen in Phase 1 and while he was left in the cryo-prison The Vault, he’s now in the Raft, as briefly shown when Wong takes him back in the wake of their fight. How that change of location happened is unclear, but since Tim Roth is also reprising Blonsky and Abomination in She-Hulk, it may be revealed when he eventually meets Banner’s cousin, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), and play what’s been described as “a significant role” in the show. The Abomination was also, of course, a major league villain who possesses Hulk-levels of power, making him “a 30-megaton nuke” on the loose, in Secretary of State Ross’ verbiage.
As surprised as fans were to learn the Abomination will appear in Shang-Chi, Tim Roth may have been equally astonished to have been contacted by Marvel after so many years. There were initial plans to include the Abomination in Avengers: Age of Ultron but those obviously never came to fruition. In a 2017 Reddit AMA, Roth was asked if he will ever return to the MCU and he replied, “I don’t think Marvel will ever use me again, but it would be fun.” Because of the Hulk’s complicated film rights, which are owned by Universal Pictures, there are no more Hulk solo movies on the horizon. The advent of She-Hulk Disney+ TV show allows Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk/Bruce Banner to continue playing major supporting roles in other MCU properties and it opened the door for Tim Roth’s long-awaited comeback as the Abomination.
Whether the Abomination will further appear in the MCU is unclear, but there are questions off the back of how Wong interacts with the hulking monster. That seems to suggest that Wong has been training him and that the pair have an established camaraderie, rather than being enemies. Following on from the Phase One plan to bring him in as an Avenger, Abomination could potentially be a possibility for the next iteration of the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers 5 and he could also be recruited by Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis Dreyfuss) to join the new team she recruited U.S. Agent John Walker (Wyatt Russell) for in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Since there’s a relationship with Wong already, some fans speculate that Abomination could possibly impact Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Either way, the Abomination is on the verge of a major comeback after sitting out MCU Phases 2 and 3.