Shang-Chi is on his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and in his upcoming movie, he’s going to square off against a very, very familiar face. Make that two familiar faces, actually.
What Happened? — On June 24, the second full trailer to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiered during a broadcast of NBA Countdown on ESPN.
Comprised almost entirely of new footage from the teaser released in April, the new trailer zeroes in on Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his resentment against his father, Wenwu (Tony Leung), who is the feared terrorist known as “The Mandarin.” We are also introduced to Shang-Chi’s mother, Jiang Nan, played by Michelle Yeoh. Yeoh is part of a select group of Marvel actors to have played multiple roles, with her other being Aleta Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
You can watch the new trailer below.
While the trailer comes packing with a fistful of action and family drama, it also contains one stunning surprise — or maybe two. At a fight club, Shang-Chi is challenged to fight the big, humongous monster known as the Abomination. If that name is familiar, it’s because actor Tim Roth played Abomination in the 2008 movie The Incredible Hulk.
And in case there’s any doubt, Shang-Chi lead Simu Liu confirmed he does indeed fight the Abomination in a Facebook status: “What’d you guys think? Pretty abominable trailer, right?”
But the Abomination is not the only MCU connection in Shang-Chi. Squaring off with the Abomination is an unknown sorcerer who uses the same magic as Doctor Strange.
Because of the obscured angle, it’s hard to tell if that is actually another MCU cameo, Doctor Strange’s Wong played by Benedict Wong — who shared a lunch with Simu Liu at a Korean barbecue joint in Australia in September 2020, when Shang-Chi was in production — or simply another mystic sorcerer who is trying his hand at mixed martial arts.
An Incredible Surprise — For now, it’s unknown how Tim Roth’s Abomination appears in Shang-Chi. Did the Abomination escape? Is Thaddeus Ross testing Abomination for field operations? Or is there something else going on? It is also unknown if Tim Roth will actually appear in Shang-Chi, or if his character will be in his CGI Abomination form the whole time.
Prior to becoming Abomination, Tim Roth’s character was Emil Blonsky, a British-Russian mercenary tasked with hunting Bruce Banner (then played by Edward Norton, now played by Mark Ruffalo) in The Incredible Hulk. The movie ended with Emil/Abomination frozen in stasis under the custody of Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt). He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.
Now, the trailer to Shang-Chi reveals the Abomination has a new purpose. While it’s unclear how or why Thunderbolt Ross is cool with letting a gamma radiated liability participate in illegal street fighting, Shang-Chi is just the latest film to once again affirm that The Incredible Hulk is 100% canon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and not an afterthought film just because it’s owned and distributed by a competing movie studio, Universal. (If you’re wondering why you can’t stream The Incredible Hulk on Disney+ in the U.S., that’s why.)
This also isn’t the only time we’re expecting to see Abomination in the MCU. In December 2020, Marvel announced Tim Roth will return as Emil/Abomination in the Disney+ series She-Hulk, which will star Tatiana Maslany in the title role. The series commenced filming in Atlanta and Los Angeles back in April.
The Inverse Analysis — Shang-Chi’s debut film was by all accounts meant to be a stand-alone origin story with nary a cameo or returning face. However, this new trailer confirms that Shang-Chi isn’t alone in his corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If the Abomination and Wong can show up out of nowhere, who else might?
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be released in theaters on September 3.