"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," director Daniel Cretton told Fandango. "He's big and scary and looks really cool. I can't really say anything about Abomination. When the first trailer for Shang-Chi first dropped, eagle eye'd viewers were quick to notice an old 'friend' who seemed to resurface: Tom Roths Abomination. The monolithic powerhouse is sporting a more dense look from when we last saw him and judging from director Daniel Cretton teased, evolution may be the reason why.
Evolution of characters and powers is nothing new in the MCU, but we haven't seen the big bad in over 10 years. As a matter of fact, the last time we saw Abomination, Marvel was still be distrubted by Universal Pictures before the House of Mouse got its little mouse sized paws on what would become the highest grossing movie franchise in history: The MCU. We recently saw Wanda Maximoff, now the Scarlet Witch, fulfill her destiny and evolve in Wandavision, Sam Wilson take up the shield in The Falcon and the Winter Solider, and everyone's favorite trickster evolved into a bit of a hero during Loki. It looks the Disney wants to keep this trend going into the next movie with Abomination.
The new look is pretty gnarly looking. Immediately you notice a few more bone structures, most notable over his upper chest along his shoulder, some bumps around his head, he's sporting a few new plates along his arms as well. If you look further, you see some webbing between his now more defined spikes along his back, and it's hard to tell because he is slouched over (common Emil, didn't your parents ever tell you about posture!) but he may be taller than we last saw him. It's a good look for him and one that the director identifies as 'scary'.
So why now? I mentioned earlier that we lost saw the monstrous Abomination in 2008's The Incredible Hulk.If you are good at math, you'll notice that it's slightly over 13 years since then. I don't think you have to look that far in the near future for the answer though. Marvel appears to be assembling two sets of teams for properties in the near future at the same time they are ramping up their next Avengers line up. The first team is The Young Avengers and the second, and more pertinent to this point is The Thunderbolts. "But Gary, Abomination was never in the Thunderbolts.", to which I would say fair point but hear me out. The Thunderbolts we are used to exist on Earth-616. The Earth that the MCU characters inhabit is Earth-199999. Several important events have already been cut from the MCU that do happen in the comics: Spider-Man's Origins, Hank Pym (not Tony Stark) creating Ultron, Black Widows triste with the Winter Soldier, and the full Planet Hulk (World Breaker Hulk) storyline just to name a few. With all of that left out or modified, whose to say that Madame Hydra won't take an interest a certain Abomination, especially with his MCU connections to William Hurts 'Thunderbolt' Ross who oh by the way happens to be the name sake for The Thunderbolts.
Shang-Chi could just be re introducing the character and showing what he's been up too for the last 13 years before we see the character take a larger role in Disney+ upcoming series She-Hulk which will see Tatiana Maslany step in as Jennifer Walters, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Jameela Jamil as Titania, and of course the subject of this article, Tim Roth's Abomination. Whatever the motivation and payoff is for Abomination's appearence at this time, it will at least be partially revealed when Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters September 3rd.