Everything We Know

Everything We Know About Marvel's She-Hulk Disney+ Series

Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany has been cast as Bruce Banner's lawyer cousin, but what else will we see in the upcoming series?

by | September 28, 2020 | Comments

She-Hulk Comic Cover

(Photo by Marvel Comics)

As Marvel Studios and Disney+ continue to chart new waters with their new Marvel television shows — a selection of limited (and potentially not so limited) series with deep ties to their film franchise — they continue to surprise moviegoers and thrill fans of the comics with their deep pulls from the comic book library. One such character is She-Hulk; her origins are fascinating, and her conquest of the streaming landscape will fulfill a destiny that has eluded her for decades. At the same time, nothing in her world is that grandiose for long, so let’s take a look at what we know about the She-Hulk series so far and get a feel for what it might be like and how it could expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe.


She-Hulk Was Created To Prevent A TV Show

Lou Ferrigno in The Incredible Hulk

(Photo by ©Universal Television courtesy Everett Collection)

Created by John Buscema and Stan Lee in 1980, Jennifer Walters is the cousin of Bruce Banner. After she is accidentally shot by mobsters looking for her father, Bruce volunteers to save her life with a blood transfusion. The procedure transfers some of his gamma-irradiated power into Jen. Initially, she “Hulks out” whenever she gets angry, but her powers and why they manifest become more nuanced over the years. Oh, also, she happens to be an attorney working in New York, which makes things a little bit tough when she starts showing up to court all green.

Unlike her cousin (at least, up until Avengers: Endgame), Jennifer develops great control of her powers, maintaining her wits even if she ends up a little short-tempered as She-Hulk. Additionally, she can go for a very long without reverting to a purely human form. In fact, she prefers being somewhere between human and Hulk.

But as legend tells it, She-Hulk was created at a time when Marvel was branching out into television with the very successful The Incredible Hulk TV series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. The show’s producer, Kenneth Johnson, also had success with The Six Million Dollar Man spin-off, The Bionic Woman. Fearful he would think of a gender-swapped Hulk first, Marvel rushed She-Hulk into the pages of her very own title, The Savage She-Hulk, which ran for 25 issues. Afterward, She-Hulk would guest star in other comic titles and eventually join the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. She would also get her own title again, as well as various miniseries and short-run comics.

The Savage She-Hulk Comic Cover

(Photo by Marvel Comics)

Once trademarks were secured, Marvel shopped Jen around as a potential series in her own right. She nearly made her TV debut in 1990’s The Death of the Incredible Hulk TV movie. ABC was also circling a She-Hulk series around the same time, but neither her cameo nor the series came to fruition. Soon after, Larry Cohen began working on a She-Hulk film with Brigitte Nielsen set to star, but that never materialized either.

At one point in the 2010s, ABC and Marvel Television were also developing a female-led series that very well could have been another attempt at She-Hulk. That plan, whichever character it was based on, was snapped into dust when Marvel Studios took control of all TV operation in the summer of 2019. Around the same time, studio president Kevin Feige announced at the 2019 D23 Expo that She-Hulk would join the roster of Disney+ series. The other series announced that day included Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, and Moon Knight, and while all four premises could make great television, She-Hulk has long been ready for prime time.


A Lawyer By Day And An Avenger By Night

She-Hulk Comic Cover

(Photo by Marvel Comics)

To a certain extent, the pitch for She-Hulk should be one of the easiest sells in television: a single female lawyer who also happens to be a Marvel superhero. In fact, this was the basis for a 2014 She-Hulk comic book series by writer Charles Soule – a practicing attorney at the time ­­ ­­– artist Javier Pulido, and colorist Munsta Vincente. After a number of years guest-starring in superhero books (and with a new She-Hulk taking Jen’s place), Soule and his team moved her to the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, where she went into a small practice defending other super-powered beings. Along for the ride were the potentially supernatural paralegal Angie Huang, her pet monkey Hei Hei, and Patsy Walker (a.k.a. Hellcat) as a private eye on retainer.

Jen’s cases included representing Doctor Doom’s son’s attempt to obtain political asylum, clearing an aged Steve Rogers of a wrongful death wrap stemming all the way back to 1940s, and getting a small-time villain’s widow her due share of a patent stolen by Stark Industries. It even had a “season-long mystery” in the form of the Blue File – a incident Jen was involved in but could not remember to save her life.

Additionally, Jen’s office was in a building filled with other super-powered entrepreneurs, and by the series’ conclusion, Howard the Duck moved in down the hall. Playful with Marvel history and with gripping storytelling in its own right, the Soule She-Hulk series can be seen as a proof of concept for the TV show Marvel Television wanted to make… or the show Marvel Studios will make.

Jessica Gao, Kat Coiro

(Photo by Albert L. Ortega, Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

We’re betting the series will have a similar comedic edge, thanks to lead writer Jessica Gao and executive producer Kat Coiro. Gao cut her teeth as a writer on Rick and Morty – she wrote the meme-friendly “Pickle Rick” episode. Her other credits include episodes of Robot Chicken and The Mighty B! Coiro, meanwhile, is a veteran director from shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She is currently slated to helm the pilot and direct several more episodes.

Of course, the comedy Gao and Coiro may mine from the comics is not limited to Soule’s time with the character; writers like John Byrne and Peter David also found the premise to be a solid driver of laughs. They also found the character offered plenty of dramatic stakes. A more recent run by writer Mariko Tamaki reframed Jen’s ability to Hulk out as a form of PTSD, using the concept for a more serious tale. Though she eventually returned to super-heroing as She-Hulk, the story illustrated just how malleable the character could be, and it re-established that Jen could live her life in a more human guise.


The Face Of Jennifer Walters

Tatiana Maslany

(Photo by Dee Cercone/Everett Collection)

After years of speculation and names like Betty Gilpin, Alison Brie, and Kerry Washington bandied about by fans, Marvel shocked everyone by signing up Orphan Blacks Tatiana Maslany to play Jen. As her BBC America series revealed, she is great with drama and no slouch with comedy. Various guest roles on shows like Parks and Recreation also underscored those comedic chops.

That should work in her favor, as the series appears to be leaning more into that aspect of the character than, say, an Avengers-style adventure or the more serious drama of Tamaki’s story. But Maslany’s casting left people wondering if she will play Jen and She-Hulk, or if someone else will be her Lou Ferrigno and slather on some green paint to portray “Shulkie.”

For much of her time in the comics, Jen has remained a statuesque (and green) force for justice and the law. Maslany’s relatively diminutive height suggests one of two equally valid options: she will Hulk out when necessary or, like Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce in Avengers: Endgame, her entire performance will be motion captured so Jen can be animated into every scene. These Marvel shows are said to be quite expensive, so the money is there to do it. Alternatively, the story could see Jen learning to balance herself with a more Hulk-half and see her practicing law as She-Hulk by the end of the first season. Well, assuming She-Hulk is intended as a multi-season series, of course. Marvel has been imprecise about its status as a limited series like WandaVision or Loki.

The fact is, there is a great story to tell with Maslany as Jen – and that’s before you consider all of the Marvel elements it could introduce or even reintroduce.


The Courts As A Window Into Marvel’s Manhattan

She-Hulk Comic Cover

(Photo by Marvel Comics)

When Marvel Television and Marvel Studios became separate corporate entities thanks to a restructuring at Disney, the plan to keep everything connected dissipated, leaving Manhattan as the purview of the Netflix Defenders scheme. Marvel’s other famous lawyer, Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox), led the way on Daredevil while Patsy Walker transformed into Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) on Jessica Jones.

But when plans for the Marvel series on Disney+ became public, Netflix became less interested in committing to more Defenders. Across 2018 and 2019, a bloodbath ensued as Luke Cage, Daredevil, Iron Fist, The Punisher, and Jessica Jones were all cancelled. Though various reasons were offered, it was clear Disney becoming a direct competitor of Netflix soured the relationship.

As a New York-based lawyer – sometimes with her own firm, sometimes as part of a bigger and more prestigious one – Jen is the perfect character to re-introduce some of these lost Manhattan residents. We’d love to see Taylor return as a reformed Hellcat who works for Jen as a repayment for getting her out of the Raft early. We’d also love to see the character re-imagined as a more direct version of the Patsy Walker seen in the pages of Soule’s She-Hulk. And it only seems like a matter of time before Jen faces Matt Murdoch in court – either played by Cox or someone entirely new.

Charlie Cox in Daredevil, Rachael Taylor in Jessica Jones

(Photo by Barry Wetcher/©Netflix, David Giesbrecht/©Netflix)

Timing is, of course, an issue. Marvel has something of a non-compete clause with Netflix regarding the characters on those shows. The clause is set to expire two years after each show debuted its final season on Netflix, but Marvel cannot even begin to talk about developing shows with the characters in the interim. As it happens, characters from Luke Cage are, presumably, available to Marvel Studios now as that series debuted its final season on June 18, 2018. Matt Murdoch, Foggy, and the rest of Daredevil‘s crew will likely be free for use in a month’s time. Jessica Jones characters, however, must remain sidelined until June 14, 2021. The situation may keep Hellcat from being part of the main She-Hulk cast, but Marvel could probably pull off a special guest appearance by Cox’s Murdoch if they are so inclined.

Meanwhile, She-Hulk could also suggest things like the Baxter Building (home of the Fantastic Four), Doctor Doom’s homeland of Latveria, or, potentially, the Mutant teens who call Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in Westchester County home.

That’s one of the great things about She-Hulk as a format: it can be as small as a courtroom drama or go as big as an Avengers film.


A Phase 4 (Or Phase 5) Surprise

She-Hulk Comic Cover

(Photo by Marvel Comics)

It is currently unclear when the series will debut on Disney+. Going by the original D23 plan, it was set to be part of the MCU’s Phase 5 calendar and premiere sometime after Hawkeye. But with that series still lacking a critical star, it appears She-Hulk is moving into the post-Loki slot for the end of Phase 4 and a potential late 2021 release. Of course, that could change quickly, so consider a 2022 debut the most likely scenario.


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

japan Sneak Peek Marvel American Society of Cinematographers disaster Elton John indiana jones CBS Vudu HBO blockbusters movies Anna Paquin 90s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina CW Seed Bravo werewolf Lifetime Christmas movies critic resources razzies psychological thriller posters batman ABC nature versus cancelled hidden camera El Rey dark YouTube justice league Watching Series live event latino Crackle breaking bad indie 2016 Set visit Baby Yoda king arthur cancelled television Hallmark Christmas movies Trophy Talk Quiz superhero comiccon reboot Ellie Kemper BBC One Horror comedies Tubi blockbuster A24 king kong festivals Binge Guide The Witch strong female leads television APB Television Critics Association canceled TV shows The Arrangement supernatural spain Cosplay Classic Film Nat Geo book adaptation IFC Mindy Kaling TCA Winter 2020 Holiday Oscars TNT BBC America Photos australia vs. Trivia TCA Awards Disney streaming service richard e. Grant hist all-time zombies sports telelvision PlayStation Comedy NBA unscripted cars women free movies streaming movies cops marvel cinematic universe award winner TBS Music RT History crime 93rd Oscars Exclusive Video Infographic transformers GIFs Kids & Family nfl Peacock Brie Larson spinoff Universal child's play documentary art house boxing DC Comics Countdown YouTube Red Sundance TIFF HBO Go live action Fox News Cannes marvel comics TV One screenings historical drama zombie suspense HBO Max cancelled TV shows fast and furious revenge rt labs Superheroes Teen Character Guide 73rd Emmy Awards BAFTA Ovation animated ABC Family comics MTV new york CNN YouTube Premium Rom-Com Endgame Comic-Con@Home 2021 Disney+ Disney Plus TV renewals stoner Pop popular E3 heist movie canceled 2018 Schedule Cartoon Network black comedy archives Nominations high school scorecard YA Opinion monster movies halloween tv VH1 debate 4/20 CMT rt archives Amazon Prime Pacific Islander die hard italian Star Trek 1990s Amazon Studios A&E Creative Arts Emmys Turner Classic Movies police drama series Masterpiece 24 frames 20th Century Fox IFC Films Musicals Apple TV+ LGBT Mudbound independent Legendary FOX Mary Poppins Returns Fantasy Pet Sematary ABC Signature Winter TV cartoon news Pride Month Arrowverse Adult Swim emmy awards social media Starz trailers 99% TV movies Trailer TCM book cults Grammys composers Women's History Month See It Skip It Universal Pictures period drama technology romance kong dc mockumentary comic book movie spider-man 72 Emmy Awards godzilla a nightmare on elm street science fiction universal monsters rotten best Podcast discovery Shondaland Turner hispanic heritage month scary movies dragons lord of the rings Mary poppins screen actors guild 2021 Biopics DC Universe Video Games travel Heroines worst movies obituary sitcom ViacomCBS casting psycho wonder woman cancelled TV series TCA 2017 MCU Fall TV USA Sony Pictures SundanceTV Disney feel good olympics video on demand serial killer doctor who Neflix ITV Holidays adenture slasher joker directors rt labs critics edition Interview Discovery Channel WarnerMedia Sundance Now finale new star wars movies Box Office Awards Tour X-Men criterion Walt Disney Pictures Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Sundance TV theme song Syfy Emmys films Netflix Christmas movies LGBTQ Black History Month saw Year in Review Logo Black Mirror natural history teaser Superheroe dramedy Reality Competition Britbox action-comedy comic books zero dark thirty San Diego Comic-Con documentaries GoT war VICE Spectrum Originals Broadway OWN scene in color deadpool cats what to watch Freeform basketball Comedy Central fresh christmas movies FX on Hulu asian-american 45 Lionsgate Animation Rocky diversity Apple TV Plus IMDb TV Best and Worst aapi spider-verse international vampires medical drama mutant Marvel Television 007 Lucasfilm Television Academy Tokyo Olympics 21st Century Fox PBS singing competition pirates of the caribbean 2017 sag awards Ghostbusters franchise worst Super Bowl Disney Channel spanish language concert The Walt Disney Company hollywood BBC japanese tv talk Hallmark remakes Paramount Plus Funimation royal family space 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Rock Reality anime Film football Dark Horse Comics witnail The Purge Netflix Paramount Captain marvel new zealand halloween docuseries AMC 2020 children's TV PaleyFest Marvel Studios critics black comic book movies 2015 Travel Channel Tarantino gangster miniseries laika movie video Certified Fresh talk show 2019 classics crossover Comics on TV stand-up comedy kids adaptation History green book Spike SXSW GLAAD Extras cinemax biopic Calendar TCA crime thriller streaming Disney Plus Election satire game of thrones Thanksgiving festival sequels golden globes Martial Arts Nickelodeon National Geographic Alien Sci-Fi Apple BET true crime twilight CBS All Access toronto rom-coms Amazon Prime Video First Reviews game show WGN blaxploitation Chernobyl venice prank Rocketman Paramount Network Epix Action DirecTV Musical Drama Mary Tyler Moore Film Festival jurassic park young adult biography Stephen King MSNBC cooking Shudder RT21 Emmy Nominations sopranos james bond Awards based on movie anthology Tomatazos toy story BET Awards mob The Academy Wes Anderson dceu Pixar The CW Pop TV Writers Guild of America Hulu thriller kaiju target politics rotten movies we love Hear Us Out President OneApp VOD DGA Food Network mcc Toys mission: impossible spy thriller political drama facebook Columbia Pictures adventure FXX jamie lee curtis aliens golden globe awards Warner Bros. Country Lifetime Premiere Dates docudrama Fox Searchlight NBC ESPN Crunchyroll crime drama Polls and Games slashers TV Land hispanic romantic comedy DC streaming service french First Look parents legend ghosts Christmas dreamworks know your critic Comic Book dogs nbcuniversal The Walking Dead Western renewed TV shows quibi spanish Marathons elevated horror Valentine's Day SDCC USA Network Image Comics Pirates Tumblr NYCC AMC Plus FX genre 71st Emmy Awards dexter Amazon reviews Instagram Live binge sequel Red Carpet Family harry potter TV Avengers TruTV ratings stop motion Acorn TV Song of Ice and Fire comic scary boxoffice Star Wars foreign south america chucky robots name the review Mystery New York Comic Con Spring TV Summer Winners Academy Awards Showtime ID E! superman TLC Esquire