She-Hulk Writer Jessica Gao Discusses her Initial Pitch For the Series

The release of She-Hulk on Disney+ is imminent, arriving on Aug 18. The Marvel comedy series looks to have a different feel than other entries into the MCU, and writer Jessica Gao is making sure the creative team remembers that. The show, starring Tatiana Maslany as the titular character alongside Mark Ruffalo, Tim Roth, Benedict Wong, Charlie Cox, and Jameela Jamil, will be the first entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to break the fourth-wall. That means Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk will be speaking directly to the audience, similar to the style of Deadpool.

A full-on comedy with conversations to the audience may have been a difficult pitch to Marvel. However, Gao tells Variety that her first meeting with Marvel led to something that’s ‘pretty close to the show that you’re watching.’

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“My pitch for the show is pretty close to the show that you’re watching. All the kind of key foundational elements were there: Emil Blonsky/Abomination was always in the pitch. Bruce was always in the pitch. I didn’t know if I could use them. I didn’t know what their relationship was to Abomination anymore. But I thought, you know what? This is what I want — so I’ll just pitch it. Thankfully, they liked all of it. When I went in, it definitely skewed a lot more heavily towards Blonsky’s trial. In my original pitch, it was an actual trial and it spanned multiple episodes. When we got into the writers’ room, inevitably things change as you’re developing the show and as you start writing. And one thing that we all realized very slowly was none of us are that adept at writing, you know, rousing trial scenes.”

A multi-episode spanning trial may not have been the best idea for a lighthearted MCU show, and it seems like that idea was quickly changed once the crew started meeting in the writers’ room. However, the direction the series will go in involving the overall story of Phase 4 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is still up in the air.

Gao Drew From Several Comics as Inspiration for She-Hulk’s Plot

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Although she isn’t the most well-known character, She-Hulk has been around for the past four decades. Jennifer Walters was introduced in February 1980 in The Savage She-Hulk #1 and has since been a member of The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Heroes for Hire, and S.H.I.E.L.D. So there is plenty of material to pull from for the first season of She-Hulk, which Jessica Gao explained in her Variety interview.

“John Byrne was the run that made me first fall in love with the character, and so her characterization is really heavily pulled from [that]. But I mean, honestly we cherry pick from every run, starting from even Stan Lee’s first issue. Byrne’s run, Dan Slott, Charles Soule — we picked elements from each. We might pull a villain from this one, we might pull a premise from that one, a supporting character from a third. Because Byrne was the one that really introduced the fourth wall breaking and the meta nature of everything — that, to me, is essential She-Hulk.”

The future direction of She-Hulk is still in question, but co-star Mark Ruffalo assures fans we will see the hero in later iterations of The Avengers. For now, we can watch Tatiana Maslany play the titular role in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, arriving on Disney+ Aug 18.