Abomination actor Tim Roth shares the original fate of his character, as well as what it's like to return to the MCU after more than a decade.
Spoiler Warning: This article contains details about She-Hulk episodes 1-3.
Tim Roth's children grew up between his Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances.
When he first appeared as Hulk villain The Abomination/Emil Blonsky in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, he told IGN he was “just there to make his kids smile” and “slightly embarrass them at school”, which he declared a success. So what happened when Roth got the call to return to the MCU over a decade later?
“I laughed. I thought it was hilarious,” Roth said in an interview with IGN. “When [Marvel] told me what they had in mind, I just laughed, I thought it was wonderful, and impossible, and mad… It also in a sense was nice because then I could revisit my kids' childhood.”
It was a much different time when Roth first played Abomination, back when Edward Norton was Bruce Banner and nobody knew the global phenomenon the MCU would blossom into. Then, Roth got the call he never expected: first to return for a cameo in last year's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and then for a very different take on the character in the She-Hulk Disney+ series.
But even though a decade passed without Marvel using the character, there were still conversations about what Abomination's return could look like. In fact, one of Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige's original ideas was much more sinister than the zen-filled version of Abomination we see in She-Hulk.
Prior to Shang-Chi, the last we saw of Abomination was at the end of The Incredible Hulk, where Hulk nearly strangled Abomination to death, before handing him over for arrest. In the MCU, we know he spent the next decade-plus in isolation, leading to his eventual parole hearing seen in She-Hulk. But that wasn't always the plan, according to Roth.
“I remember talking to Kevin [Feige] on set of [The Incredible Hulk] and Stan Lee as well,” Roth said. “The idea was that they locked him up in a steel vault and sank it to the bottom of the ocean and left it there. So that when you found it at the beginning of whatever film that might have been… That's where you found him. And he'd had time to think. About what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go.”
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While that exact scenario didn't play out on our screens, elements of the concept made it into Abomination's story in She-Hulk.
“Well in a sense they kind of did it in She-Hulk. He's in isolation, dealing with his inner monster… and he's been in a bubble… in a maximum security [prison] in total isolation, for many years. So now what do we get? Who is he? And the journey he goes on will possibly dance around the knife edge of 'is he or isn't he [reformed]?' And I know I had some fun with him.”
Roth also spoke about the pressures the MCU's visual effects artists are facing, which has been a big part of the conversation surrounding She-Hulk.
“They're extraodinary, that team. And I'm sure it's a lot of pressure, my God. It's a huge part of what this all is. Hopefully they get the recognition they deserve. They're quite stunning, [it's] an extroadinary thing.”
She-Hulk is currently airing on Disney+. You can check out our review of this week's She-Hulk episode, where we said, “She-Hulk: Attorney At Law delivers another strong episode that highlights Jen taking control of her narrative amidst knock-out cameos, overzealous construction workers, and the delicious destruction of overconfident blowhards while still managing to save them from themselves.”
Logan Plant is a freelance writer for IGN covering video game and entertainment news. He has over six years of experience with bylines at IGN, Nintendo Wire, Switch Player Magazine, Lifewire, and more. Find him on Twitter @LoganJPlant, where he's probably pleading for an F-Zero revival.