She-Hulk: Attorney At Law: Creator Jessica Gao Explains That Meta Ending And How Kevin Feige Encouraged It

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details from the season one finale of She Hulk: Attorney At Law on Disney+.

She Hulk: Attorney at Law wrapped its first season this week with an episode that could double as a series finale, should Marvel decide not to proceed with its first true half-hour TV comedy. But why wouldn’t they? We need to see what develops between She Hulk and Daredevil!

Here, Executive Producer Jessica Gao talks about that meta ending that featured a robotic version of her boss Kevin Feige, and why she opted against a traditional Marvel ending for her Tatiana Maslany starrer.

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DEADLINE The season finale followed She Hulk as she walked into the writers room of … She Hulk. Were you actually in that scene?

JESSICA GAO I was in the background. I was dragged kicking and screaming into that cameo, ’cause I did not originally plan to be in it. That’s why we cast an actor to play writer Jessica. But the night before, we realized we needed one more background extra. And because it was during the height of Covid, there wouldn’t have been enough time to test a background person to have them shoot the next day. So I stepped in. 

DEADLINE Is this an ending that you envisioned from the very beginning? To get real meta with Marvel boss Kevin Feige? 

GAO Oh, no. Not at all. It was such a long journey to get to that point. I must have written like 20 versions of a finale, because when we got to the finale, I very mistakenly thought, ‘I got to have my fun. We’ve got to do something different. I have to do the Marvel ending.’ Marvel does things a certain way, you know, they follow certain beats and this is the point where I have to start falling in line and doing that. Like, that’s really what I thought. Nobody was telling me this, this is just what I thought. So I tried to live up to that and did so many different versions of what would be a typical Marvel ending, and none of it felt right. It was Kevin, human Kevin who said, ‘there’s no reason to do that. Why try to force this when it’s not what it’s supposed to be? This is not a Marvel movie, so why are you trying to make a Marvel movie ending when that’s not what it is? This show has been completely different from the beginning. This show was completely different than anything we’ve ever done.’ It was so freeing to have him not only give me permission, but to give me encouragement, to really push me to continue doing something different. That’s why it’s so great working with human Kevin, because he is open to things like that. 

DEADLINE What would constitute the typical Marvel ending?

GAO A reveal of a big bad villain, the conspiracy coming to light and then a huge, action-packed fight with the bad guy where the hero beats the bad guy. 

DEADLINE The whole thing with robot Kevin was pretty fun but …. it’s all rooted in reality, right? Kevin has to sign off on every last bit of this, right?

GAO Absolutely. Kevin signs off on every word.

DEADLINE You had robot Kevin say “We’ve been historically light in that department” in the finale, which is a reference to the lack of romance in the Marvel-verse. When you first launched She Hulk, did you know you wanted to get her busy in the love department?

GAO Oh definitely. This was supposed to be a well-rounded portrait of a woman’s life, and that would include a love life and a sex life. We knew we wanted to show all of that because this is a single woman in her thirties. We wanted to really show the totality of her experience as a young woman.

DEADLINE In the comics, She Hulk has many lovers like Starfox and Wyatt Wingfoot. Why Daredevil?

GAO How could we not? She Hulk and Daredevil are friends in the comics. And how do I put this? He sleeps around prolifically. The moment we heard that we could use Daredevil, we were like, ‘well, of course they have to hook up.’ Like, he’s the perfect partner for her. This is somebody who uniquely understands her and he’s hot and he’s incredibly charming. This is the rare person who understands the exact situation that she’s in, how to balance being a lawyer by day and then a superhero outside of work. And thankfully Charlie Cox and Tatiana had such incredible chemistry too.

DEADLINE So I’m assuming this relationship could flourish if we see a second season?

GAO Yeah. If these two very busy people who have a lot going on in their lives wanna make it work, I’m sure they could find a way to make it work.

DEADLINE You broke the fourth wall quite a lot this season. What did you learn from that experience, and will you make any adjustments to that in the second season, should there be one? 

GAO I love fourth wall breaking. It’s always so fun for me. So as a viewer, I wanted to put in so much more of it. The first scripts were so heavy with fourth wall breaks, it was probably too much. I was given notes several times to pull back on the fourth wall breaking, which I was very displeased with. But I do think that it taught me that I have to find a better balance. If there are too many, then there’s not enough room for the story and for everything to actually unfold on its own. 

DEADLINE I loved how we started to see Jennifer have some insecurity that She Hulk was getting way better positive attention. Is that something you’re gonna farm in the future? 

GAO The entire first season is really her origin story. In the pilot episode, it’s her physical origin, but for the entirety of the seasonal arc, it’s really about her emotionally and mentally becoming She Hulk. It’s her accepting who she is, how she hope it fits into her life and how to have both Jen and She Hulk co-exist in a way that she can accept. At the end of the season, she reaches the point where she’s fully accepted She Hulk and she knows how to fit her in with Jennifer Walters now. So moving forward, she’s going to be so much more confident. She has really grappled with the growing pains of becoming this other entity. And now moving forward, she gets to spread her wings. 

DEADLINE That finale could also double as a series finale. Did you play it that way?

GAO Always. I’ve been writing for TV for a very long time, and you can never, ever guarantee that you’re gonna get another season, especially for a season one show. So, the prudent thing for a writer working on a season one show is to tell a satisfying and complete story so that if it did end that way, you felt like you at least told one full story but still left the door open for, you know, six seasons and a movie. 

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