The great thing about the interconnected storytelling of the MCU is that no one’s ever really gone from the franchise for good. They can always turn up again wherever there’s a space for them. Even, say, a popular yet nowadays forgotten villain played by an Oscar-winning actor who hasn’t been part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Phase Two.
According to sources close to WGTC – the same ones that previously told us that the Fast & Furious franchise is headed to space and that Ben Affleck is returning for The Flash, both of which were correct – Marvel plans to bring back Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. We’re hearing he’ll return for multiple projects as the former rival to Tony Stark, who debuted in 2010’s Iron Man 2. And he could be making his first reappearance in the next couple of years.
Our intel points to Hammer possibly turning up as soon as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which comes out in May 2021. It’s unclear how he would fit into the plot at this point, but we’re told that the studio is discussing giving him a cameo. It’s worth mentioning, too, that the real Mandarin – who will be Shang-Chi‘s main antagonist – first made his presence known in the MCU in 2014’s Marvel One-Shot “All Hail the King,” which was also the last time we saw Hammer.
Of course, we’ve heard that the villain could return as part of the MCU’s Thunderbolts team as well. The supervillain group led by General Ross may be introduced as soon as Black Widow‘s post-credits scene. Maybe the Thunderbolts will continue to be teased throughout upcoming post-credits sequences, and Hammer will turn up in Shang-Chi to recruit some supervillain into their ranks. That would certainly be a fun twist on the Phase 1 Avengers-recruiting post-credits teases.
Chalk that up as speculation for now, but what we do know is that Hammer is coming back in a big way and that the next time we see him might be in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.