A Hulk is about to get top-billing in a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) release for the first time – and it won’t be Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner.
She-Hulk, one of Marvel Studios' many Disney Plus show offerings set to land in 2022, instead puts the focus on Banner’s cousin, Jennifer Walters, who’ll be played by Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black, Perry Mason). Yes, there are a number of MCU movies that'll debut exclusively in theaters as well, but Marvel's Phase 4 slate for the coming year is also packed with new TV projects, too.
"But who is She-Hulk?", we hear you say. For the uninitiated: in the comics, Walters is a lawyer who gets bigger, stronger and greener after receiving a life-saving blood transfusion from her famous relative, aka Bruce Banner. Although she has similar rage issues, more of her own personality remains when she’s in her She-Hulk form – and she has a long history of defending superpowered types in court.
With Marvel supremo Kevin Feige promising a “half-hour legal comedy” format, it seems likely that the new show will be unlike anything we’ve previously seen in the MCU. Given that the likes of WandaVision and Hawkeye were influenced by unique and unusual genres despite being superhero-led projects, it seems that Disney Plus will continue to be the domain where Marvel chiefly experiments with its production formula.
So, ahead of its 2022 debut, here’s a summary of the essential case files on Marvel's She-Hulk TV show.
Release date: She-Hulk is coming in 2022, with an official release yet to be announced.
Story: The official Disney description says She-Hulk/Jennifer Walters is “a lawyer who specializes in superhuman-oriented legal cases”. It's also been strongly hinted that she'll break the fourth wall and talk to the audience, Deadpool-style.
Cast: Award-winning Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany heads up the cast as lawyer Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk. She's joined by Marvel returnees Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth as the Hulk and the Abomination, respectively, while The Good Place's Jameela Jamil is set to portray the series' antagonist in Titania.
She-Hulk release date
She-Hulk release date: mid-2022?
Marvel Studios' She-Hulk, an Original Series, coming soon to @DisneyPlus. #DisneyPlusDay pic.twitter.com/RNWzKH0sQfNovember 12, 2021
While November 2021's Disney Plus Day online event gave a rather non-committal “Coming Soon” in place of an actual She-Hulk release date, a Disney Plus promo video released a month later confirmed the show is coming to the streaming platform in 2022.
That suggests it’ll appear after Ms Marvel’s ’Summer 2022” debut, but probably ahead of the Oscar Isaac-starring Moon Knight, which went into production around the same time as She-Hulk. Comicbook.com reported that principal photography on the show wrapped in August 2021 after a four-month shoot.
She-Hulk will reportedly feature more episodes than any of its MCU Disney Plus predecessors, with Kevin Feige telling journalists at a WandaVision press day (via Collider) that “She-Hulk is being developed as 10 30-minute episodes.” WandaVision consisted of nine episodes, while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki and Hawkeye have all run to six – albeit longer – instalments.
She-Hulk trailer: is there one?
We’re still awaiting an official trailer, but Disney Plus subscribers have already enjoyed some footage from the show.
As well as rolling out clips from the existing MCU shows, the Disney Plus Day special showcased a few brief scenes from the show. Barely stretching to 30 seconds – and that includes the title screen – the clips introduce Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters. “I’m a normal lawyer,” she says, before the footage cuts to a tall, green female figure. “Well, not that normal…” she admits.
Then, we see Walters back in human form, rigged up to some monitoring equipment under the control of Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner/Hulk. “These transformations are triggered by anger and fear,” he tells her. The final piece of footage (in the style of a TV commercial, no less) shows Walters telling us “Don’t make me angry, you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”; a reprise of the famous catchphrase from the long-running The Incredible Hulk TV show from the 1970s.
Later on, we get a very brief glimpse of She-Hulk's green leg – dressed in a ball gown – as she steps onto a red carpet.
So when might a full teaser for She-Hulk land online? Hopefully some time soon but, if we had to hazard a guess, we'd say around March/April 2022, ahead of the series' potential release between May and June. That would put it ahead of Ms Marvel's summer 2022 release.
She-Hulk story: what's the plot about?
Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, was created by Stan Lee and John Buscema, and made her first appearance in 1980’s The Savage She-Hulk #1.
In the comics, she’s a lawyer who – after being critically injured in a shooting – receives a blood transfusion from her cousin, aka Bruce Banner. While they have the same blood type and the transfusion saves her life, there are consequences of the big, green angry kind. Like Banner, she becomes prone to turning a bright shade of emerald, and also gains superhuman strength, speed, endurance and regeneration when she loses her temper – though she does retain significantly more of her personality while she’s, well, Hulking out.
Although Walters shifted between her human and Hulk forms in earlier stories in the comics, later iterations have kept her green 24/7, with the character enjoying the added confidence and strength that comes from her gamma-irradiated DNA.
The Disney Plus Day footage suggests that She-Hulk's TV incarnation will shift back-and-forth between her two selves – at least to start off with – but we’re guessing the She-Hulk origin story will look pretty similar on-screen. However it plays out, it’s clear from the trailer that Banner will try to help his cousin come to terms with her rage-induced transformations.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about the She-Hulk story, though, is its format. Kevin Feige told Emmy Magazine (via SlashFilm) in December 2020 that the show will be a “half-hour legal comedy”, which suggests the series may have as much in common with Ally McBeal as The Incredible Hulk.
Indeed, if She-Hulk goes down the “case of the week” route – with Walters defending a different superhero/villain in court each episode – the show has the potential to take the MCU in some fun new directions. The decision to hire Jessica Gao as head writer – a veteran of the likes of Silicon Valley, Robot Chicken and the legendary ‘Pickle Rick’ episode of Rick and Morty – certainly suggests that comedy is going to be just as high in the mix as the series' action sequences.
And there’s another thing about She-Hulk that could distinguish her from the rest of the MCU.
Years before breaking the fourth wall became a key component of the Deadpool brand, Jennifer Walters was having conversations with writer/artist John Byrne via the comic-book panels he was creating. Feige said in his Emmy Magazine interview that the new TV show will “stay true” to Byrne’s 1980s run, which suggests that fourth wall-breaking (or, this being She-Hulk, smashing) may be on the agenda. And, given Maslany's self-aware “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” quote in the Disney Plus Day Marvel showreel, that certainly seems like it'll be the case.
The She-Hulk story is also unlikely to be a WandaVision-style one-season deal. “Some of the shows that I mentioned [which included She-Hulk], we are keeping in mind a structure that would lead into a season two and a season three in a more direct way than, say, a show like WandaVision,” Feige told assembled journalists at a Television Critics Association panel in August 2021 (reported by IGN). That isn't to say that She-Hulk will get follow-up seasons but, like Loki's forthcoming second outing, it's more likely to happen than not.
She-Hulk cast: who’s joining Jennifer Walters in court?
Here's who has been officially confirmed as part of She-Hulk's cast so far:
- Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk
- Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk
- Ginger Gonzaga as unnamed best friend
- Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination
- Jameela Jamil as Titania
- Renée Elise Goldsberry as Amelia
Having played multiple clones in Orphan Black, taking on two versions of a single character should be a doddle for Tatiana Maslany. The star has confirmed to the Scott Hasn’t Seen podcast (via the Direct) that the bigger, greener version of herself is “all CG… I’m in mo-cap the whole time. I’m on platforms with mo-cap where I have a little head on the top of my head.” That should, at least, be a new experience for the Emmy-winning actor.
Mark Ruffalo continues to vie with Samuel L. Jackson in a game of “who can appear in the most MCU projects without getting title billing” by returning as Bruce Banner/the Hulk for the ninth time (not including animated anthology series What If…?). The Disney Plus Day footage suggests the character is now able to shift between his human and Smart Hulk forms at will, but it's unclear how big of a role he'll have in proceedings.
MCU newcomers in the She-Hulk cast include The Good Place star Jameela Jamil as Walters’ long-term comic-book foe Titania, Kidding’s Ginger Gonzaga as (according to Deadline) Walters’ as-yet-unnamed best friend, and Hamilton star Renée Elise Goldsberry as (also via Deadline ) a character “referred to as” Amelia.
There may also be a screen debut for a behind-the-scenes mainstay of the MCU – speaking to the Straight Outta Gotham podcast (reported by the Direct), Geeks Worldwide’s Casey Walsh suggested that Walters may address Kevin Feige directly as part of her fourth wall-obliterating antics. Surreal as that'll be, it should provide some extra humor to what's expected to be the funniest Marvel show thus far.
And, when it comes to Marvel heroes, Feige may be the tip of the iceberg. Disney’s official description of the show says that, in addition to the returning Hulk, “She-Hulk will welcome a host of Marvel characters to the series” – including Emil Blonsky/the Abomination.
Having made an unexpected comeback in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Tim Roth will reprise his performance-capture role as the Hulk’s mutated gamma rival – a character he first played in the otherwise forgotten, Edward Norton-starring The Incredible Hulk back in 2008.
Will Blonsky be one of Walters’ first clients, perhaps? If the the show does have the sort of “case of the week” format we're predicting, it could easily have a different superpowered cameo in every episode. We wouldn't be surprised to see Blonsky's new BFF Wong (from Doctor Strange) coming along for the ride – and, while this is just speculation on our part, Wong may not be the show's only guest star. We're about to dive into major Spider-Man: No Way Home spoilers here, so don't look past the image below unless you've seen the movie.
Still with us? Now that Spider-Man: Far From Home has confirmed that Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock/Daredevil is part of the MCU, he seems a logical candidate for a cameo. And, if you believe rumors doing the rounds on Reddit, Cox's Murdock is likely to cameo throughout She-Hulk's six episodes.
Surely She-Hulk is calling out for a courtroom face-off between Marvel’s most high-profile superhero lawyers? They’ve come up against each other in the comics, notably in a case involving Captain America in Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s 2014 run on the She-Hulk comic, so it wouldn’t be a massive leap to see similar on screen. Here's hoping that this is the case. And yes, that pun is completely intended.
She-Hulk in the MCU
She-Hulk MCU appearances: could she appear in other Marvel projects?
It's possible. The MCU – or should that be the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse (MCM) now? – is becoming ever more interconnected, especially with No Way Home and Loki teasing the multiverse's arrival before Doctor Strange 2 explore its more thoroughly.
While we don't expect She-Hulk to be part of any interdimensional hopping between different Marvel universes, we wouldn't be surprised to see her cameo in future Marvel movies or TV shows. After all, Ruffalo's Banner/Hulk may start to take less of a starring role in Phase 4 and beyond, so any new Avengers (or, whisper it quietly, Heroes for Hire) line-up will need a new green, super-strong individual to add to their ranks.
Providing She-Hulk's TV series is another Marvel-ous hit, we imagine Maslany's gamma-irradiated alter-ego will crossover into other live-action productions. She'd lend some serious weight and humor to proceedings, and both of those are never a bad thing where Marvel projects are concerned.
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