Abomination Showed Up In Shang-Chi Because Of His She-Hulk Role

The beauty of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — or a source of never-ending consternation, depending on who you talk to — is that continuity, for the most part, matters. Characters who were introduced years ago could very well pop up again at the most unexpected time and with an entirely new outlook from when we last saw them. Sometimes, these instances come with the full weight of the passage of time, like when Natalie Portman's Jane Foster finally returned in "Thor: Love and Thunder" as the Mighty Thor after remaining noticeably absent since 2013's "Thor: The Dark World." More often, such cameos are played for laughs as a way to further tie the MCU together — think of Shaun Taub's Ho Yinsen, the doctor who saved Tony Stark's life in that cave in the first "Iron Man," showing up once more in the opening flashback of "Iron Man 3."

One rather surprising return, especially given the way that this particular movie has never quite fit in with the rest of the franchise, comes in the form of Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky/Abomination from "The Incredible Hulk." Fans were surprised to see the super-soldier's cameo in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" revealed in the marketing ahead of time, perhaps hinting at bigger things to come. Those bigger things have arrived (quite literally, in fact) with the Disney+ series "She-Hulk," starring Tatiana Maslany and packed with a wide assortment of familiar faces.

Roth will once again reprise his role as the one-time Hulk antagonist and, in a further example of embracing the franchise's #ItsAllConnected motto, it turns out that his appearance in "Shang-Chi" specifically came about thanks to his role in "She-Hulk."

'Everything in Marvel is connected'

Between Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner/Smart Hulk, the return of Charlie Cox's Matt Murdock/Daredevil, the ever-entertaining wanderings of the Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong), and especially Roth's Blonsky/Abomination showing up to cause some more mischief, "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law" certainly doesn't lack for side attractions that will appeal to the wide spectrum of Marvel fans out there. But if it weren't for the initiative of "She-Hulk" writer Jessica Gao, we just might have been robbed of one of the franchise's most surprising (and entertaining) cameo moments.

In an interview with ComicBook.com, Gao explained why she was drawn to Blonsky's reappearance for a significant storyline in "She-Hulk."

"...Emil Blonsky was in my original pitch and at that point, the last time we saw him was in 2008, 'The Incredible Hulk.' I had no idea what their relationship to this character was anymore. I don't know if they had any plans but it was a story I wanted to tell so I just put it in there.

"Because everything in Marvel is connected, that was actually why he then was put in 'Shang-Chi' because he was in our show. That way, it was kind of to seed him so that people can get excited but also remember him and it kind of forced people to go, 'Oh, I should go back and check in on him and remember who he is and what all of that was about.'"

Gao credits Kevin Feige for having the wherewithal to foreshadow Abomination's larger role in "She-Hulk" with his fun fight club sequence with Wong in "Shang-Chi," which ends with the big guy stepping through one of Wong's portals and reappearing in the same containment unit as seen in "She-Hulk." Talk about cross-media synergy.

"She-Hulk" premieres on Disney+ August 18, 2022.