The Shang-Chi trailer dropped a little less than a week ago and I’ve been practicing throwing water into the air and moving through it without getting wet to no avail since. At least I’m doing the practicing here in the comforts of my air-conditioned bedroom because lawd is it disgustingly hot outside. The type of hot where you leave the air conditioner on for Hudson the Cat and hope that notices the bedroom door is open enough for him to slip through, so he doesn’t hang out in the living room where the air is ten pounds of yuck. Don’t forget pet summertime safety Geeklings.
We now have two Shang-Chi trailers under our belts and while it’s apparent that I have no superpowers when it comes to slowing down the movement of water it’s not diminishing my excitement for what is sure to be one of Marvel’s most visually stunning films. I’m all in on Shang-Chi, from the action, the celebration of cultural mythology, intense family drama, and what seems to be a soundtrack that could rival Black Panther, an opinion I’m solely basing on the music used for the two trailers.
One of the biggest standouts from this latest trailer, besides how Marvel is incorporating the Ten Rings into the MCU lore and Marvel’s continued use of terrorizing citizens on public transportation, comes near the very end. It’s one of those moments that causes you to raise your eyebrow, look at your screen, audibly say the word “no”, and then promptly rewind and zoom in until everything is just a bunch of pixels. Then you turn to the interwebs to confirm that you just saw Abomination fighting Wong in some sort of strange tournament where the Captain America shield can be seen in the background.
The appearance of Abomination was enough to make any Marvel fan stop in their tracks. This is a character we haven’t seen since he and the Hulk destroyed the majority of Harlem in the climax of The Incredible Hulk. It seemed that the only character to survive that film, who wasn’t Bruce Banner, was destined to be Thunderbolt Ross buuuuut it was confirmed that Abomination would be returning for the Disney+ She-Hulk series putting his name back in the atmosphere. His appearance here in the Shang-Chi trailer makes sense if we’re looking to re-introduce the fandom to the character. Kind of like a, “Hey, remember this guy?! He wasn’t always this big but the Hulk booted him into a tree and broke all his bones so now we got this monster.”
This of course begs the bigger question of why is Abomination here? I’ve long supported the theory that we are building towards a Thunderbolts team, seeds that were sowed in Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and wouldn’t it be great if this team of bad guys had their own Hulk? We also know that Thunderbolt Ross is set to make an appearance in Black Widow, which is taking place between Civil War and Infinity War, and Black Widow has got to have some impact on the future of Phase Four outside the appearance of JDL’s Val…don’t call her that. With Thunderbolt being directly responsible for the creation of Abomination, it would make a ton of sense for Blonsky to be a part of a possible Thunderbolts team and using Black Widow as the platform to move that theory forward. Maybe it’s a Dark Avengers thing but with Zemo still out in the wind and the return of Thunderbolt, I can’t help but feel we’re going to get a team of supervillains that Ross thinks he’s running until Val overthrows him because of course, she would. Who else can see a post-credit scene with Val and Thunderbolt where someone says, “I’d like to talk to you about the Dark Avengers initiative?”
I firmly believe what we’re seeing here in this trailer though is some kind of massive MCU-style Mortal Kombat like tournament, possibly run by the Mandarin (?!?), where the best of the best go-to compete. Of course, I don’t suspect anyone to have their spines ripped out, thanks Disney, but it should be pretty intense otherwise. With Captain America’s shield in the background, whether the actual shield or painted on the wall is something I can’t tell because of eye depth perception, it might be a sign that he once fought in this tournament and won? Maybe? It’s a working theory but it’s the theory that would invite Wong to the party. If this is indeed some fighting tournament then I can see Wong entering not only to prove himself as the best but also because he has some side bet with Doctor Strange concerning a lifetime supply of Hulka Hulka Burning Fudge. Thus, a faceoff with Abomination in front of a hoard of blood-thirsty fight fans. UFC Fight Island has nothing on underground MCU fighting rings.
We also don’t know when in the timeline this fight falls. The trailer makes it clear that we’re going to be hopping through time on levels that would make a certain God of Mischief nod with approval. This fight between Wong and Abomination could’ve happened while Shang-Chi was a kid, fight tournaments are well known for their father and son bonding moments, and before Wong even met Strange. Either way, we’re about to get a super fight that we didn’t know we needed until now. I’m happy to see Abomination back in the MCU, especially on such a grand stage and the potential for more, and I’m a sucker for all the Wong.
One thing’s for certain, while Shang-Chi will be a solo film/origin story it will also be set firmly within the MCU lore. Who wants to bet we get plenty of Iron Man 3 references?! What do you think, Geeklings? Were you shocked to see Abomination and Wong throwing down in the trailer? Who else do you think could show up? Sound off in the comments below or throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. Shang-Chi is only a few short months away, which means plenty of time for me to practice that work trick and plenty of time for us to come up with those sweet, sweet theories.