Marvel villain Abomination returns in the second episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – though not as you've ever seen him before.
Introduced back in 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Emil Blonsky is a Russian-born British-raised former Royal Marines Commando, who was transformed into a grotesque monster by a botched replication of the Super Soldier Serum.
He was portrayed as a truly ruthless villain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's second ever entry, which ended with a destructive confrontation between Blonsky and Bruce Banner, both in their monstrous alternate forms.
Following a fleeting cameo in Shang-Chi last year, fans have been excited to see Abomination reintroduced after such a long absence, but may be surprised to find the character almost unrecognisable.
Far from the cold-hearted killer we met more than a decade ago, Blonsky is shown to have adopted an enlightened view of the world, forming meaningful connections with those around him and developing a love for haikus.
"I just thought... it would be really fun to pull this character, who was such an indelible part of Hulk lore, and pull him into this Hulk show," she said.
"But also to have fun with this character, because we saw him so long ago [and] we also saw him in such a serious capacity. It would be so nice to bring him in and actually make him have fun with it and actually let him play around with this character and show you kind of a different side, because there is that long span of time."
Gao didn't go into detail on exactly what could have propelled Blonsky on his journey of self-discovery, but argued that such a long time spent behind bars could be enough to reform even someone as hardened as he once was.
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"Anything could have happened to this man over the course of the last 14 years," she continued. "People change, especially if they've been sitting in a detention cell somewhere.
"We don't know what's happened all that time and people go through these kinds of changes after such a huge thing has happened to them – and then they've had to sit with it for over a decade."
Abomination's re-emergence isn't the only reference to The Incredible Hulk in this week's episode, as Edward Norton's one-time Bruce Banner also gets a nod.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is available to stream on Disney Plus. New episodes are released on Thursdays. Sign up to Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 for a year.
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