She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has finally hit Disney+ and if you’re keen to watch the legal comedy series (read our review here) but haven’t delved much into the green superhero’s comics, caught up with previous Marvel Studios movies or series, or just haven’t heard much about it because you live under a gamma-radiated rock, we’ve got you covered.
From the titular character herself, the strange yet intriguing workings of the multiverse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and new characters created just for the series, here’s five things you need to know about She-Hulk: Attorney at Law before catching it.
#1. Your Honour, meet Jennifer Walters
Jennifer Walters is a regular, though somewhat shy attorney who later becomes She-Hulk after getting into an accident with her cousin Bruce Banner, aka Marvel Studios’ Incredible Hulk. The character was first created in 1980 and has now jumped out of the comic book pages and onto Disney+ in her debut series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Played by Tatiana Maslanty, the series follows the 30-year-old attorney as she tries to strike a balance between work, life and being a Hulk. That means taking on clients and appearing in court, finding a boyfriend on dating apps and squeezing in time to fight baddies between dates.
Unlike her cousin Bruce, who has to deal with anger issues and violently turning into a Hulk, Walters has greater control over her Hulk persona, and can turn back and forth at will. When transformed into She-Hulk, she becomes more confident and outgoing in nature, while continuing to retain her Jennifer Walters persona.
Our girl Jen runs a hectic life, but if there’s anything we’ve learnt from the comics and the series, is that she’s more than capable. She-Hulk possesses enormous superhuman strength, speed, agility, stamina and durability. Aside from the greater control she has over her powers, she also has the sass and wit that makes her personality even more fun and relatable.
As incredible as she is, she’s not entirely keen on being a superhero. It’s not what she signed up for (nor the student debt) and all she wants to be is a good lawyer that seeks justice for those in need. This dilemma is also explored in the series – we don’t want to give away too much though.
#2. Where does She-Hulk fit in the MCU timeline?
There have been so many Marvel movies and TV shows released that one can’t help but wonder when these series and events take place in the MCU timeline. The recent slew of Disney+ releases, including Ms Marvel and Moon Knight, have kept themselves rather separate in their own bubbles, often casually name-dropping and making references to other supers here and there, with no indication of where their story fits in the grand scheme of things.
Things are rather different with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, in that we know that it takes place either at the same time as or briefly after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
In turn, Shang-Chi is set after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a series set six months after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Shang-Chi is also set before Eternals, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. That said, Daredevil’s upcoming cameo in the series (as revealed in the She-Hulk trailers) might precede his appearance in No Way Home too.
With all these in mind, it looks as if She-Hulk‘s events are not far off after Shang-Chi, before all the multiverse mess that is Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
#3. Who is Nikki Ramos?
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law marks the live-action debut of comic book characters She-Hulk and Titania, but it also introduces a brand new character – Nikki Ramos. Played by Ginger Gonzaga, Nikki is Jen’s best friend and a paralegal with a great fashion sense.
Whilst Jen allows herself to be strapped down by her various responsibilities in life, Nikki lives freely, is adventurous and serves as a reminder that regardless of what life pits you, there’s always time to be fun.
“She’s a very free person who knows who she is. She’ll love anyone she wants, she’ll throw herself into any situation that she wants. I look at her as someone who’s been through so many things as all women of colour have and she’s kind of landed this place where she knows exactly who she is. And she doesn’t give up! She’s surviving and she’s having fun doing it. She’s really there to keep things light and be a wonderful cheerleader for people to reach their full potential,” said Gonzaga of her character in an exclusive interview with Geek Culture.
There’s still plenty to know about Nikki as the series unfolds before our eyes, but one thing that viewers can be sure of is that Nikki is the driving factor toward Jen’s growth and often guides the big and green hero to do things she normally wouldn’t do.
“[Nikki’s] power is just like, her insane amount of freedom in her life and her bravery and because of that she’s always able to get Jen into a little little bit of trouble. And Nikki’s always willing to do things that are kind of borderline illegal, or maybe, you know, things that Jen wouldn’t do. But it’s like, don’t you worry about it, I’ll get it covered,” laughed Gonzaga.
#4. She-Hulk breaks the fourth wall, and she did it first
You would assume that the first superhero to break the fourth wall and speak to readers and audiences is Deadpool aka Ryan Reynolds, clad in a red latex suit, and you would not be wrong as the characters has done it in the comics and movies, but believe it or not, She-Hulk did it first in her comic book series, and this has also carried over into her Disney+ series.
Breaking the fourth wall has been tied to She-Hulk since the Sensational She-Hulk run of the late 1980s. Largely written and illustrated by John Byrne, Sensational She-Hulk saw Jen openly acknowledging the fact that she is a superhero, often talking directly to the audience. As the Sensational era went along, these fourth-wall breaks only got more extravagant and absurd, including (but not limited to) her travelling great distances in between comic panels, making fun of and crossing paths with the various comic creators at Marvel, and even shutting down storylines she doesn’t like by literally ripping through the comic.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law breaks the fourth wall from the get-go. In the pilot episode’s early moments, we’re introduced to Jen’s life as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles, as she is preparing for an upcoming legal battle. After her coworkers leave the room, Jen then turns to the camera and talks to the audience directly, acknowledging that they probably won’t be able to focus on this “fun lawyer show” until she gets her backstory out of the way.
#5. She-Hulk will change our ideas on the villains of the MCU
A legal-comedy, She-Hulk sees our titular character represent a number of characters from the MCU, and one of which, as seen in the trailers (so that you won’t come chasing us with pitchforks), happens to be Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination – the very man, er, monster, who wreaked havoc and tried to kill her cousin Bruce.
Emil Blonsky’s appearance in the She-Hulk trailer raises some interesting questions about Abomination and what he has been up to since The Incredible Hulk (2008). Bringing him into this Hulk-centric show can also bring some closure to unresolved storylines from that origin movie, while at the same time providing a newer lens for fans to view characters who have, for a long time, been believed to be villains.
Seeing how the last time we saw Abomination was in Shang-Chi , working alongside Sorcerer Supreme Wong, it seems like the ‘villain’ might have turned over a new leaf. Whether there would be more notable villains heading towards redemption in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law remains to be seen, but it does present an interesting idea to think about: what if these villains, aren’t villains at all? And who of the villains are truly evil on the inside versus the ones who happen to be collateral damage, in need of justice?
And there you have it, five things you need to know before watching She-Hulk: Attorney at Law! She-Hulk’s debut in the MCU will definitely have an impact and we can’t wait to see how she fits into future MCU projects.
Until then. we’ll catch Maslany as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk, Gonzaga as Nikki Ramos, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky/Abomination, Benedict Wong as Wong and Jameela Jamil as Titania in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law on Disney+.