‘She-Hulk’ Creators Share Challenges Of Bringing The Sensational Superhero To Screen

When She-Hulk: Attorney at Law director Kat Coiro was a little girl, she remembered being moved by a cover of a She-Hulk comic, as it was unlike anything she’s seen before. She-Hulk was firstly, a woman, large and green, standing loud and proud amongst the crowd of friendly neighbourhood, spandex-clad superheroes. Little did Coiro know that her life journey, which includes directing episodes of TV’s Dead To Me, Modern Family, Shameless and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, would bring her back to the sensational giant, and she’ll end up directing a live-action series featuring Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk.

“I remember very vividly, being a little girl and seeing the cover of a She-Hulk comic in amidst the sea of male comics, and just not knowing who she was or what this was, but knowing that I was moved by it,” confessed Coiro at a press conference that Geek Culture attended. 

“The idea of being large and in charge and, you know, taking control. Taking up space was something that really resonated with me and I remember, I bought that comic book. So, when this show came along, it was really the culmination of a real dream.” 

Coiro may have manifested (or shall we say, wo-manifested) a She-Hulk series, but it wasn’t until head writer Jessica Gao and her team of writers come together, that the team was able to bring the comic’s wit and super-meta universe to life. Having stars Tatiana Maslany, Ginger Gonzaga, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Wong, Tim Roth and Jameela Jamil served as the cherry on top, whilst the VFX team worked overtime to bring magic to screen. 

But believe it or not, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law almost didn’t make it as a finished product. Head writer Gao faced multiple rejections from Marvel Studios before landing her role on She-Hulk. Though she didn’t specify if the previous rejections were for She-Hulk, or other Marvel Studios projects, Gao is thankful that she received the opportunity nonetheless.

“Guess the fourth time is the charm, and it worked,” said Gao. “It was the right project. I’m glad they rejected me so many times.” 

But even after getting the job, the rejections didn’t stop. According to Gao, she had plenty of run-ins with Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige. The fights, she indicated, were not all that pretty either and it lasted all the way up until the release of the show’s first trailer. 

“While we were watching the trailer, because Kevin was standing next to me, like, we had spent weeks fighting over what should go on the trailer and what shouldn’t and so, it was just the two of us sniping at each other over our respective positions and the pieces that were in the trailer,” admitted Gao. 

For Gao, it was important that the She-Hulk she put on screen wasn’t just some strong formidable hero. She-Hulk had to be personable, relatable – She-Hulk had to be Jen, a fleshed out person that viewers can identify with, so that even when she was in Hulk mode, she’s still someone that viewers can continue to feel connected to. 

“You feel like she’s lived a life, she has life experiences, she has relationships, she has a family and she has friends, you know?,” explained the head writer. “And also, she changes, like, she might feel different in the morning than she does in the evening. She might feel different today than she did yesterday. Like, this is a real person who actually feels things and processes things and, like most people, has highs and lows.” 


This was easily achieved with Maslany in the lead role too. 

“I mean, we talked about how important it is for this character to be human first. And truly, from day one, the moment she (Maslany) stepped into this role, it immediately was like right before your eyes, you’re like ‘oh, this is a person’,” said Coiro. 

“Before, like a second ago, this was just words on a page and now I’m seeing a real person who I believe has lived this entire life, has all these relationships, and has all these feelings, you  know?”

In the first episode, Jen sought solace in the bathroom of a bar after her horrible accident. Looking messed up, confused and traumatised, a group of girls helped to freshen her up before sending her out to the world again. For many women, the scene is all too familiar as it’s likely something female viewers might have experienced themselves. Said scene not only helped viewers relate to Jen, it also reinforces sisterhood and female friendships. 


“That scene was so important to me, and there were so many times that it was on the chopping block because a lot of people didn’t understand it. And I was like, ‘This is the single most important scene to me in this entire episode’ because truly, the women’s bathroom in any club, bar, strip club, I don’t care, like any public women’s bathroom is the most safe, protective, and supportive environment,” shared Gao. 

“And it’s the truth, you know? And women are so often depicted as being catty and bitchy – that could be possibly be true outside of the bar, but the moment you’re in the inner sanctum of the bathroom, like women just wanna help each other. If you went into a bathroom and said, “This man was bad to me,” you would have an entire group of women like ready to go and kill him.” 

Aside from fleshing the character of Jen Walters/She-Hulk as much as possible – a privilege the creators get for working on a series instead of a movie format – the creators also focused on keeping the tone of the series lighthearted, fun, refreshing and empowering. Much of which fell on Ginger Gonzaga’s shoulders. 


Comedian Gonzaga plays Nikki Ramos, Jen’s best friend and makes her debut in the superhero series as a wholly original character that never appeared in the comics. Incredibly fashionable, free-spirited and a brilliant paralegal, Nikki is the beacon of light that helps inject humour, wholesomeness and a little bit of harmless fun into Jen’s life and the series. She also continuously empowers Jen to embrace who she is and to turn her perceived weaknesses into strengths that she can hone to not only better herself, but those around her too. 

“Nikki is just reckless and free, but in a fun way, you know? I can encourage Jen to become She-Hulk, which is why, if She Hulk ever saves the world, you can actually thank her good friend, Nikki. Behind every superhero, there is a catalyst best friend that’s encouraging you to get in a lot of trouble,” teased Gonzaga. 

“I hope [viewers] feel really seen and can relate to She-Hulk because Nikki wants so badly for She-Hulk to embrace being special, being different, owning that power, you know, taking up space, being kind of unapologetic about who she is. And I want that for the world. So I hope you can see that in She-Hulk while laughing.”


Gonzaga isn’t the only one with such hopes for this series. Director Coiro hopes that long-time Marvel fans can see that this is a whole new era of Marvel that they now get to enjoy, and that fans who felt like there wasn’t a place for them in the fandom, or felt like they didn’t get represented get to see themselves reflected in the humour and humanness of She-Hulk.  

“Listening to all this, it’s so fun to relive it and I think about what I started talking about [which] was me as a little girl seeing this very unusual image,” said Coiro. “And the idea that we’re bringing this image of a huge powerful woman to a broader audience is very exciting thinking about the younger generation of girls.”

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is now streaming on Disney+.