‘She-Hulk’ Director Had Concerns About Throwing Marvel Under the Bus

Kim Taylor-Foster
TV Streaming
TV Streaming MCU

The following article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Season 1 Episode 9 of She-Hulk entitled “Whose Show Is This?” Proceed at your own risk if you haven’t yet seen the season finale.

She-Hulk smash… the fourth wall. If you’ve seen the finale of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, you’ll know that the Disney+ series absolutely shredded the Marvel Cinematic Universe rulebook. As if the tearing open of the multiverse hadn’t already done that, Episode 9 sees She-Hulk climb out of her own show ON THE FREAKING DISNEY+ MENU SCREEN and into another (making of series Marvel Studios’ Assembled) in order to rewrite the plot of her series. Which involves demanding to see Kevin, the honcho responsible for She-Hulk and all MCU storylines.

Kevin turns out not to be Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige but K.E.V.I.N. (Knowledge Enhanced Visual Interconnectivity Nexus), an Artificial Intelligence responsible for creating “near-perfect products” using “the most advanced consolation algorithm in the world” (a swipe at Netflix?). After Jen confronts the robot, it agrees to erase the blood plot from the story — she makes a compelling case for lower, more personal, stakes. This is my show, she’s said us throughout the series, and therefore it should be about what matters to her: a little story about reconciling Jen Walters with her new superhero persona, She-Hulk, and learning to live with them co-existing.

What it shouldn’t have is all the matters keyboard warriors say it should have – big spectacles and high-stakes plotlines. Jen explains that in spite of these wants from fans and Marvel Studios’ kowtowing to the unwritten rule that “you have to throw a bunch of plot, and flash” there are sowever complaints that Marvel movies all end the same way. “We can do what we want,” she is essentially saying on behalf of Marvel Studios, “and we’re going to switch it up, and nobody can tell us what anything we create going forward should be.”

Whatever you made of this move, you can’t deny it’s a bold and impactful one. We spoke to series director and executive producer, Kat Coiro, about the finale and the series as a whole, and she shared some illuminating insights.

What the Hell Is Going On?

“I have been waiting for — I don’t even know how long — a year,” says Coiro of her eagerness to unleash She-Hulk’s wild finale on the world. “One of the funniest stories of all of the production is that we actually shot the finale lodge scene with Mark Ruffalo, Tim Roth, John Bass [who plays Todd], the whole gang really early in production. And once you watch the series, it makes sense. But when you begin filming that, all the actors were looking at me like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ And my answer was, ‘It doesn’t create sense. But that’s the point. It’s not supposed to create sense. You just have to trust me.’ And to their credit they did. And this is where we’ve ended up.”

That lodge sequence is the moment where Jen decides she’s had enough. Disparate plot strands from the series collide, brought together in a chaotic way that satisfies nobody, least of all Jen Walters. Tim Roth in full Abomination mode is making a motivational speech to an assembled room of Intelligencia members, the misogynistic organisation headed up by Todd, the guy Jen once went on a date with and who keeps showing up in her life.

“All the actors were looking at me like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ And my answer was, ‘It doesn’t create sense. But that’s the point. It’s not supposed to create sense.'”

Todd, it turns out, is the one hiding behind the handle HulkKing, and is responsible for the plot to steal her blood and publicly humiliate her, deeming her unworthy of her powers. At the same time, Titania (Jameela Jamil) shows up, smashing through the wall of the lodge in a classic Titania entrance, out of nowhere. And then along comes cousin Bruce, too, hurtling through the roof as he rushes to her aid from space. Too much, Jen uses her fourth-wall breaking powers to smash her way out of the story and rewrite the series, the way she wants it to go. Free of expectation, and the weight of comic book source material.

Throwing Marvel Under the Bus

K.E.V.I.N.
K.E.V.I.N. erases the blood plot.

“What’s so amazing to me, is that Kevin [Feige] and Lou(is Esposito] and Victoria [Alonso] and Brad [Winderbaum] — you know, all the big bosses at Marvel — were so game,” says Coiro. “And I was actually the one who was most nervous about throwing the Marvel projects under the bus. And they were like, ‘No, no, it’s fine.’ They had no problem poking fun at themselves and poking fun at the comments that individuals create about the Marvel shows. And that was a big surprise to me. They were so game from the beginning.”

Surely they must have voiced some concerns?

“There were definitely a lot of discussions about the baseball cap on the machine. And yes, there were times where he felt like that was going too far.”

“Only I voiced concern!” she says. “It’s part of their genius that they went there. And it’s pretty remarkable. Where Kevin [Feige] drew the line is when we asked him to do the voice of the AI brain, and he was like, ‘No, we’re separate. I don’t want the two characters to be the same. I mean, I’m a human being.’”

We’ve heard Feige didn’t like the baseball cap on K.E.V.I.N. How did that go down?

“There were definitely a lot of discussions about the baseball cap on the machine. And yes, there were times where he felt like that was going too far. Because again, obviously, he’s not an AI brain. But we ended up doing it in a way that is kind of subtle. And I’m just glad that everybody picked up on it, because that was the hope.”

Trolling the Trolls

The series has done a remarkable job of anticipating audience reaction to its baiting. Almost every week, the show addressed real matters the audience was saying about She-Hulk, as a character and as a Marvel TV series. MCU fans love to guess where events are heading, and which characters might be introduced that might have an impact in a movie or show further along the line. She-Hulk throws all of this up in the air.

“They realized that by being negative to us, they’re playing right into our hands.”

“What drew me to the MCU is their connection to the audiences and the way they have evolved, as they listen — they really do, they listen — in a way that is very unique,” says Coiro. “And so it’s been really fun to be a part of that evolution. One of the funniest matters to me is when the series first came out, I would obtain these nasty troll messages from individuals who seemingly hadn’t even watched the show. They were just ready to take down a female-led project. And as the series has progressed, that stopped. And I think it’s because we were always one step ahead of them. So then they realized that by being negative to us, they’re playing right into our hands, thereby proving that we are smart, which they never want to acknowledge.”

Finding a Balance

She-Hulk drops into the writers room.
She-Hulk drops into the writers room.

The show essentially trolls the audience, but was there ever any hesitation about how far they would go?

“Yeah, there were definitely… the thing that’s cool about Marvel is it’s all a conversation. You don’t obtain notes, you have conversations,” begins Coiro. “And my job as the director is often to play devil’s advocate to challenge things. And I was often going, ‘Are we going too far? Are we going far enough?’ And because you have a big group of individuals making the decisions — the writers, the producers, Kevin, and Lou, and Victoria — you kind of come to this place that really feels like a balance, and it really works.”

“I was often going, ‘Are we going too far? Are we going far enough?’”

It feels difficult to visualize this extreme kind of fourth-wall-breaking becoming a regular thing in the MCU. Of course, we’re all primed for Deadpool to enter the fray and he will come armed with his own brand of meta, presenting a cool possibility to dovetail the Merc with a Mouth’s asides with She-Hulk’s self-reflexivity. But although alternate realities and therefore all possibilities within the multiverse exist, and the Avengers have proven that quantum travel allows them to ‘change’ events by creating new timelines, the thought that She-Hulk can just consult K.E.V.I.N. any time to change or erase plot points perhaps doesn’t quite sit right.

Will K.E.V.I.N. be Back?

Jen Josh She-Hulk
Kat Coiro says she likes to think Jen sowever hooked up with Josh.

“K.E.V.I.N. says in the finale, ‘We constant that glitch, you won’t be back here.’ I think it’s important that that was a one-time thing, and that we’re not constantly confronting K.E.V.I.N. about plotlines, because then it takes you out of the MCU. And that was always the big balance to find with breaking the fourth wall is you want to be engaged [with] this person, [with] their life. And so just finding the balance is really important. But I don’t think we should spend a lot of time back with K.E.V.I.N. in the future. My humble opinion.”

“I don’t necessarily know that she erased Josh and that experience, because I like her having a nice little romp. But the blood plot is something that she did erase.”

Given that there’s sowever some confusion over what exactly is canon now following She-Hulk, I ask about the blood plot and how much of that actually happened. Or rather, what sowever exists from it in terms of going forward in the MCU.

“I will neither confirm nor deny [precisely what’s canon],” says Coiro. “But in my opinion, I don’t necessarily know that she erased Josh and that experience, because I like her having a nice little romp. But the blood plot is something that she did erase.”

So there isn’t a vial of blood sitting in a lab somewhere?

“Only Kevin knows,” Coiro says coyly. I’m not entirely sure if she means K.E.V.I.N. or Kevin.

Daredevil and Cranking up the Comedy

Matt Murdock and Jen Walters.
Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) and Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) in She-Hulk.

Speaking of canon, Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock aka Daredevil appears in the series. He showed up already in the MCU proper in Spider-Man: No Way Home as Peter Parker’s lawyer but was of course known (and loved) from the Netflix series. Some fans voiced concerns about how that gritty take on Daredevil would fit into She-Hulk’s sitcom format, but it works.

“He surprised us by doing his own stunts — just like leaping off the building’s edge, and making us all have a heart attack.”

“I think so too,” agrees Coiro. “Charlie’s such a skilled actor that he can do comedy, he can do drama, he can do action, he surprised us by doing his own stunts — just like leaping off the building’s edge, and making us all have a heart attack.”

Did he really do that?

“Amazingly! He just flipped like that. Like it was nothing. And so I was never afraid about [him fitting in]. The same with Mark Ruffalo. Same with [Benedict] Wong. They’re all such good actors. And this isn’t so outlandish. It’s just maybe, you know, crank up the comedy by a few degrees. So it was very organic and natural. There was a little adjustment period of [them asking] like, ‘Can I go this far?’ And I was always like, ‘Absolutely go as far as you want’, which I think is different from some of the dramatic fare that they’ve been in before.”

So Is Daredevil the Same Matt Murdock From the Netflix Show?

Maybe Daredevil has a wardrobe full of different suits.
Maybe Daredevil has a wardrobe full of different suits.

There’s sowever some conversation around if this Daredevil is the same Daredevil from the Netflix series, given that the multiverse and alternate versions of characters exist. But She-Hulk makes lots of references to matters that align with the Netflix series, including using its music. Can Coiro confirm it’s the same Daredevil?

“Who’s to say that Daredevil has to have one suit?”

“I am not going to talk about it, because I know they have their eighteen-episode series coming out. I will say that, you know, I think like, for example, introducing the tailor [Luke Jacobson] who builds the suits, kind of gives us this license to play around with the color of the suits. And we have the ketchup and mustard suit, which is a direct homage to the comic books. But who’s to say that Daredevil has to have one suit? And I think that’s kind of what’s fun about smashing some of these rules is like, yeah, it’s a different suit. It might not always be that suit. And you know, he’s a human being living in the world, he can change the color of his outfit. And so [it’s] that irreverence and that lack of being precious that I think we have brought to the MCU.”

So while we might be clear on the fact that Daredevil perhaps has more than one iteration of his suit in his wardrobe, paving the way for another different one, or multiple, down the road, we’re not quite clear on which Matt Murdock the one that appears in She-Hulk might be. One thing’s certain, the MCU is determined to play with both our expectations and what we think we know.


Check out director Michael Giacchino speaking exclusively to Fandom about the MCU’s horror-tinged Werewolf by Night below.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.