She-Hulk head writer says they spoke "a lot about Fleabag" while developing the series

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

From the sitcom-smashing WandaVision to the metaverse-bending antics of Loki and the downright WTF weirdness of Moon Knight, the MCU’s small-screen output has taught us one thing: expect the unexpected. So back in December 2020, when Kevin Feige revealed that new Disney Plus show She-Hulk: Attorney At Law was going to be a "half-hour legal comedy", fans took it in their stride.

First appearing in Marvel Comics in 1980, She-Hulk is the green-hued alter-ego of Jennifer Walters, cousin to scientist Bruce Banner. Taking an emergency blood transfusion from him, she inherits some of his unique abilities – turning green, muscling up. But unlike Banner’s rage-fuelled Hulk, she retains her intelligence and personality when she transforms. "She’s angry in a different way!" laughs She-Hulk head writer Jessica Gao while talking to Total Film in the new issue, featuring Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power on the cover.

Lead director Kat Coiro adds that they were trying to find a series that felt "a little bit like Ally McBeal, but still exists within the Marvel Cinematic Universe," though the TV references ended up being a little more leftfield. "We talked a lot about Fleabag," says Gao, nodding to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s uncompromising British show about a woman traversing her thirties. "The irreverence of [Fleabag] and the sense of humor... there’s a lot there that I can definitely see that they drew from as inspiration," says Tatiana Maslany who plays She-Hulk/Walters.

The Fleabag allusions also speak to the very core of the show. "Because the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe has already done a fantastic job of huge action, enormous stakes," notes Gao. "It’s always the fate of the universe, the fate of the free world. But that can’t be every single day. What happens in between those movies when these characters just have to live their lives, when they have
to go on dates, when they have to go grocery shopping, when they have to see their family at a reunion?"

"We definitely explore what it’s like to be a modern woman dating online," explains Coiro. "It was just so embarrassingly human, and that’s what drew me in," adds Maslany. "I loved seeing that her dating life was just as much of a stress as potentially becoming one of the Avengers."

Tatiana Maslany in She-Hulk

(Image credit: Disney/Marvel Studios)

Above, you can see an exclusive new image from the series which debuts on Disney Plus on August 17. Read more from the She-Hulk cast and crew behind the series in the new issue of Total Film, featuring our huge TV preview on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, House of the Dragon, Andor, The Mandalorian season 3, and so much more. 

The magazine reaches shelves on July 26 and will be available to order through this link. Or subscribe and never miss an issue again and receive magazines with exclusive cover images and insider secrets.

Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.