Spoilers follow for She-Hulk episode 2 and Shang-Chi.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 2 has arrived on Disney Plus – and it may have secretly set up Marvel Studios' forthcoming Thunderbolts movie.
The second entry in She-Hulk's live-action series – Superhuman Law – is on the short side from a runtime perspective. However, it's an installment packed with Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) references, including the overdue return of Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination.
The last time we saw Abomination was in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, with the supervillain taking on Doctor Strange's Wong in a cage fight. Before that, Roth hadn't been seen in an MCU project since 2009's The Incredible Hulk. Now, though, he's back in the MCU, making his long awaited return in She-Hulk's Disney Plus show.
As we see in episode 2, Jennifer Walters is hired by rival law firm GLHK – to front their new superhuman law division, no less – after she's let go by her former employer. You know, because she lost her court case in episode 1. Oh, and the fact that she's a Hulk-sized liability. Go figure.
Anyway, after she's picked up by GLKH, Walters' first assignment is to represent Blonsky/Abomination during his parole hearing. Blonsky's been imprisoned at the Department of Damage Control – remember them from Spider-Man: No Way Home and Ms Marvel? – since he was beaten by Hulk in the latter's solo MCU movie. Now, apparently he's a reformed citizen, and it's up to Walters to convince the parole board that he should be released back in society.
It's during Walters' first meeting with Blonsky that his likely involvement in Marvel Studios' Thunderbolts movie is teased. We previously reported that Abomination may be part of the Thunderbolts' line-up when the Marvel Phase 5 film lands in theaters in July 2024. And it seems that Blonsky/Abomination could be part of that anti-hero team, based on what he tells Walters during their exchange.
After Blonsky tells Walters that he chooses not to turn into Abomination anymore, he lists a number of other descriptions for himself – he's Russian born, British raised, was a Royal Marines Commando and, most interesting of all, is "on loan to the US government".
What does that mean? Reading between the lines, Blonsky/Abomination can be called upon by the US government to carry out covert missions for them. Currently, there's no Avengers team to defend the world against superhuman threats, so why wouldn't the US government put an anti-hero taskforce together to protect Earth from interdimensional invaders? After all, a similar scenario plays out in Marvel comics, so it stands to reason that a comparable situation could play out in the MCU.
So, will Blonsky/Abomination be part of Thunderbolts' line-up when the movie arrives in cinemas? TechRadar recently put that exact question to head writer Jessica Gao. And, while Gao didn't fully confirm he would, her answer hinted at such a possibility.
"I don't think I'm allowed to say," Gao revealed. "I don't want to end up in an unmarked grave at Disneyland! But there is more Blonsky in She-Hulk – I believe I'm allowed to say that. So don't worry, it doesn't just end there from where you watched."
Of course, we know Roth's Blonsky will appear in future She-Hulk episodes. As episode 2's story reveals, Walters has to convince his parole board that he should be released in prison in the show's next entry. Meanwhile, a recent TV spot confirmed Blonsky will show up post-episode 3.
It's possible, though, that Gao's mention that "it doesn't just end there from where you watched" could imply his appearance in Thunderbolts. Sure, it's more likely she's referring to Blonsky turning up throughout the MCU Phase 4 TV show, but it could also be a slight tease towards his possible role in the forthcoming Marvel movie. That's what we're reading into it, anyway.
For more MCU-based content, check out our She-Hulk episode 2 post-credits scene explainer article. Alternatively, read our Marvel movies in order guide to see where the series fits on the confusing MCU timeline.