What The Surprise Character Appearances In The New 'Shang-Chi' Trailer Could Mean For The Wider MCU
Fans eagerly awaiting the second trailer for the upcoming film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings got an extra surprise when it dropped. Two important MCU characters not previously known to be in the film, Hulk villain The Abomination, and Doctor Strange supporting player Wong, are seen when Shang-Chi and his friend Katy visit what appears to be a mystical underground fighting ring.
So, what does the surprise appearance of these characters mean in the wider MCU?
The Abomination, aka Emil Blonsky, first appeared in the 2008 film The Incredible Hulk, played by Tim Roth. Blonsky was originally a Russian soldier on loan to General Ross's Hulk-hunting team, but after being injected with a seriously flawed version of the Super Soldier serum, followed by a small sample of Bruce Banner's blood, he is mutated into the monster known as The Abomination. Thankfully, The Hulk is able to defeat The Abomination and save the city from complete destruction.
General Ross once expressed hopes of having Blonsky included in Nick Fury's 'Avengers' Initiative, but these plans were thwarted by the intervention of Tony Stark.
The Abomination's return has a few implications for the future of the MCU.
The Incredible Hulk returns to full canon status
The Incredible Hulk is by far the least loved film in the MCU, and until now, that has been reflected in the wider universe. While other MCU films and series crossover and reference each other's events, the events of Incredible Hulk are rarely mentioned. In fact, other than Bruce Banner (who was recast from Edward Norton to Mark Ruffalo), it took eight years for an Incredible Hulk character to appear in another film, when Thaddeus Ross returned in Civil War. Other than that, there has only been a brief extended universe reference that Betty Ross was a victim of the Decimation.
The return of The Abomination opens up the return of other characters and long-dangling plot threads from The Incredible Hulk, such as the fate of Samuel Sterns, who looked set to transform into comic book villain The Leader. Some fans also believe that The Abomination's return could lead into the upcoming She-Hulk series, or hint at Thaddeus Ross's possible transformation into the Red Hulk.
Problems at The Raft?
Fans of the Marvel universe will be aware that The Raft is a high-tech underwater prison built to house the world's worst supervillains. It also briefly became home to a few heroes, when the members of Team Cap were imprisoned there after the Airport battle in Captain America: Civil War.
The Raft was last mentioned in episode six of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, as the intended destination of the surviving Flag-Smashers, before their transport vehicle was blown up.
However, notably, The Raft is also the last known location of The Abomination. With The Abomination's appearance in the Shang-Chi trailer, fans are now eager to discover how he came to be free of The Raft. Did he escape, or was he released? Some fans believe that The Abomination has been released for as yet unknown purposes, possibly leading into a Thunderbolts or Dark Avengers storyline.
Wong, first appearing in the original Doctor Strange film, quickly became a fan favourite. The character's popularity earned him brief but memorable appearances in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Now, fans are wondering what on Earth Wong is doing fighting in a mysterious underground cage match.
There are a few possible reasons for Wong's participation in the cage match. Some fans speculate he may be having a crisis regarding his purpose in the world following the Decimation. Seeing as the New York Sanctum no longer has the Time Stone to protect, Wong may be unsure of his job.
Others believe it is more likely that Wong is conducting an investigation of some kind. Whether this investigation is related to the plot of Shang-Chi, or possibly Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is unknown.
We can't wait until Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is released to find out more.