In less than a week, a new superhero joining the Marvel cinematic universe will appear on Disney Plus along with She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters, also known as the Hulk Woman, breaks the fourth wall or looks into the camera and talks to the audience. The creators of the series explained the evolution of the process and how it seemed necessary when writing the script.
In the comics, the Hulk Woman breaks the fourth wall. It was a feature that the show’s head writer Jessica Gao wasn’t ready to give up. When implementing the adaptation, the fourth wall was key for the creators, and the way it was implemented went through “many evolutionary steps.” A lot of ideas were put up for discussion, but the final product, with which everyone seemed to agree.
During a recent virtual press conference for She-Hulk, Gao revealed that the creative team even thought about including “editor’s notes” as text boxes on the screen and getting Jennifer to interact with them. It doesn’t look like the idea has been implemented, but it will definitely be noticed in communication with the audience. For Gao, it was “the most important element to preserve,” along with the humor that is seen in the last scene with the Hulk Woman and in the personality of the protagonist. “Because it was working with John Byrne that made me fall in love with this character, you know? It was so carefree, fun and refreshing. So it’s always been kind of a foundational element,” she said.
However, it was difficult for the team to decide how much interaction to include. Before completing the script, they had to decide whether Jennifer would talk directly to the audience or whether there would be a “meta element”. They even considered having her talk to someone “more behind the scenes.” They looked at “many different versions of how she would do it” and finally settled on a version of what fans have already seen in various trailers for “The Hulk Woman.” It is still unknown how much the series adapts to the destruction of the fourth wall.
For executive producer and director Kat Coiro, it was “ultimately about finding a balance.” The fact that Jennifer breaks the fourth wall seems to Maslany to be “an extension of her superpowers.” For the actor, this is part of the awareness of the Hulk Woman, “where she can easily transform from Jen into the Hulk Woman.” Throughout her transformation, she is self-aware, and the fact that she knows what people are watching seemed like a natural process.
She-Hulk will premiere on Disney Plus on August 18, 2022.