She-Hulk was originally based around one multi-episode trial with pop-up editor’s note boxes

·3 min read
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is coming to Disney+ this week, giving the MCU its first proper comedy since expanding into television, and—much like Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk herself—it sounds like the show went through some big changes over the course of its journey from “idea” to “actual thing you can watch.” She-Hulk head writer Jessica Gao talked about that journey in an interview with Variety, explaining that her first pitch to Marvel was actually a version of the Black Widow movie that prominently featured She-Hulk (she admits that it was really a She-Hulk movie that had Black Widow in it), but apparently the initial concept for what actually became She-Hulk: Attorney At Law was “definitely skewed” more toward the trial of Tim Roth’s Emil Blonsky/Abomination, to the point where there was “an actual trial” that “spanned multiple episodes.”

That plan was dropped when Gao got into the writers’ room and realized that nobody was actually “adept at writing, you know, rousing trial scenes.” Another change came from the amount of Fleabag-style fourth-wall-breaking that Jennifer/She-Hulk does in the series, which Gao reminds Variety was a hallmark of writer John Byrne’s work on the character (even though we just said it was “Fleabag-style”). Gao says they had “overdone it” at one point while writing, which apparently concerned Marvel enough that it had to step in and suggest trying a version with no fourth-wall-breaking at all.

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Gao’s response was to come up with a meta idea that is arguably more intrusive and complex, replacing She-Hulk’s little asides to the camera in the script with what would’ve been onscreen comic book-style “editor’s note” boxes (you know, where it will say “She-Hulk first met so-and-so in issue whatever, True Believers!”). Gao says Jennifer would’ve eventually started acknowledging the onscreen boxes and arguing with the unseen editor who was writing them, which would’ve been a cool/clever conceit (if extremely Deadpool), but again, it was too much. Ultimately, Gao and Marvel landed on a more restrained version of the fourth-wall-breaking.

Elsewhere in that chat, Gao reveals that a lot of what happens in the show’s pilot was originally filmed for the episode eight (backstory stuff, like She-Hulk training with the other Hulk). It was moved up after the creators of the show realized that it would be easier to connect with the character if audiences knew more about her going in. Also, Gao sats that Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige gave her a canonical answer to whether or not Steve Rogers has ever had sex after she pitched it as a running joke for the series. Variety doesn’t spoil the answer (or say if the answer is actually given in the show), but at least we know that there is an answer out there.

It’s gotta be “yes,” right? If nothing else, him and Peggy definitely had sex after he returned the Infinity Stones, to say nothing of any nights that he shared with Bucky and/or Sam over the years. Anyway, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law premieres on Disney+ on August 18.