‘She-Hulk’: The Creative Team On Merging A Comedy ‘Lawyer Show’ With The MCU
Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk is now in session and that can only mean one thing: the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to expand, greenerand weirder.
The series, which revolves around modest 30-something Jennifer Walters, follows her daily in Los Angeles as she tries to be the best lawyer she can be, while too struggling with his personal love life. It became even more difficult after she was involved in a car accident with her cousin Bruce Banner – yes, this Bruce Banner – and some of his gamma blood enters his system. Now, whether Jen likes it or not, she’s also the Hulk.
But, all Jen wants to do is practice law! She wants to be normal! She doesn’t want to be the Hulk! Can she go back to being a run-of-the-mill lawyer while still being a towering 6-foot-7 green lady? Uh….probably not. Then meet the MCU’s first “Lawyer Show,” which also features a Hulk.
Editor Jessica Gao has long loved She-Hulk and works for years to bring her into the MCU, even before the character was ready to join the MCU. A long time ago when, Gao in fact launched on Black Widow during its development phase and also cast Jen Walters in the film.
“I had She-Hulk in my Black Widow not and [Marvel] was like, ‘It’s kind of like you’re trying to pitch a She-Hulk movie with Black Widow in it,’ Gao recalled with a laugh. “I was like, guilty! So big shock, they didn’t hire me for that. When I didn’t get the job, I said, just so you know, She-Hulk is my favorite character, obviously. If you ever do a She-Hulk movie, you have to call me.
Fast forward a few years and Gao, who has a background in TV comedy, learned what was going on at D23 Expo 2019.”[Marvel Studios President] Kevin [Feige] announces that not only are they doing a She-Hulk project, but it’s going to be a TV series, my whole background is in TV comedies! I was like, oh my god, they didn’t call me!
Luckily, two days later, her phone rang. “They called me and said, do you want to cast on She-Hulk? And I said, yes, of course. Of course, I want to cast on She-Hulk.
From the start, Gao had “a very clear idea of what kind of show I wanted it to be…I knew exactly what kind of comedic tone I wanted for the show.” Half lawyer, half Hulk, all around hilarious. Because honestly, what’s not funny about a Hulk trying to practice law for other superheroes?
Star Tatiana Maslany, who plays the lead role in She-Hulk, credits Gao for balancing comedy, lawyer and MCU content, explaining, “The writing is the reason I wanted to do this. show, because she was so smart and so funny and really not what I expected.
“The MCU looks like something huge, but it felt like we were talking about details, everyday things, and weird questions about Captain America’s sex life,” she continues. “That’s how my brain works too, and so it was fun – it was effortless to get into [Jen] and relate to her. Maslany also credits Gao’s love of She-Hulk and comics in general (hello, broken fourth wall) as the perfect tone for the series.
“Jessica just really wanted to pay homage to the comics, which is kind of destroy everything, and really look at the mechanism that She-Hulk works in… I think that was the underlying evil of the intent behind the show .
However, even if She-Hulk is a Lawyer Show, it has yet to fit into the big Marvel world. Director Kat Coiro was more than a game to bring these two very distinct ideas together into one show. “It was part of my responsibility, to keep its cinematic reach visually and to make sure that we always balance the comedy with other elements that are integral to the MCU.”
“There was so much talk about what was different [in the show] that part of my job was to keep the project in the world of the MCU,” she continues. “We obviously explore themes and we explore tone and we explore very everyday comedic moments, but we still need it to feel like it’s part of the MCU.”
That huge scope also lends itself to a vast revolving door of Marvel characters, and Coiro adds that she’s thrilled that “the public imagination” dictates who viewers might see next.
“I think the idea that we’re in this world where the superhuman law firm exists and any existing MCU character can naturally come into play and it won’t feel like a gratuitous cameo. Looks like, hey, even superheroes need legal help. I love the possibilities of this, and we see a lot of it coming through the doors of the law firm.