In Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the classic Hulk villain known as The Abomination is featured, though he’s received a redesign since his last MCU appearance. While Abomination was originally more of a brownish-yellow version of the Hulk with bone spikes and a bald head in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, the former Hulk rival has undergone some style changes in Shang-Chi. That being said, why did the MCU choose to redesign the Abomination for this new chapter of the MCU, and what does it mean for the character going forward?
In 2008’s The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton as Bruce Banner, Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky was recruited by William Hurt’s General Ross to lead a task force to hunt the fugitive Banner down. Blonsky also volunteered to take an experimental recreation of the Super-Soldier serum, enhancing his physical abilities while also being granted a rapid healing factor. However, in the face of the Hulk’s massive strength, Blonsky wanted more power. This resulting in Roth’s Blonsky becoming irreversibly transformed into what would become the monstrous creature known as Abomination. That being said, Abomination was still defeated by the Hulk and was put into SHIELD custody for years.
During the scene in the underground fighting club by Shang-Chi’s sister, Xu Xialing (Meng’er Zhang), Abomination is featured fighting the sorcerer, Wong. However, he also has a newly redesigned look where he’s now more green with scales while also having fins on his back, arms, and face. Essentially, Abomination has been redesigned to look much more like he does in Marvel Comics, whereas his original 2008 look doesn’t carry much of a resemblance. Furthermore, with Abomination now being set to appear in the upcoming She-Hulk series on Disney+, it seems as though Marvel Studios felt it was time to correct and improve upon the character’s depiction.
From a narrative standpoint, it would be hard to explain the radical design changes made to Abomination’s look in Shang-Chi. During the Incredible Hulk, Blonsky immediately fought the Hulk right after he was transformed. As such, the version seen in that film could be considered an early form of the Abomination prior to a more complete evolution seen in this new film, one where his skin turned green and the fins were eventually grown, thereby making him much more accurate to the comics.
In any case, Abomination’s redesign certainly looks to be an improvement, looking much better than his original MCU depiction which was widely criticized. Furthermore, it seems likely that his new look will be permanent, and that fans should expect to see Abomination fins and all when he appears in Marvel’s She-Hulk series in 2022. At any rate, seeing Abominaton’s return to battle Wong in Shang-Chi was certainly a fun and entertaining part of the film, and the improved redesign was a great added bonus.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is now playing in theaters.