In less than a week, the latest superhero to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to Disney Plus with She-Hulk: Lawyer. Jennifer Walters of Tatiana Maslany aka She-Hulk is seen breaking the fourth wall or looking towards the camera and talking to the audience. The creators of the series explained the evolution of the process and how it seemed to be a necessity when writing the screenplay.
As part of a specific race in the comics, She-Hulk would be seen breaking the fourth wall. It was a feature that the show’s head writer, Jessica Gao, was not ready to give up. When making the adaptation, the fourth wall was key for the creators, and the way it was created went through “a lot of evolutionary stages”. Lots of ideas were put on the table, but the end product is what everyone seemed to agree on.
At a recent virtual press conference for She-Hulk, Gao revealed that the creative team is even considering including “editor’s notes” in the form of on-screen text boxes and having Jennifer interact with them. It doesn’t look like the idea made it, but she will definitely be seen interacting with audience members. For Gao, it was “the most important element to remember”, with humor, visible in the last She-Hulk scene and the personality of the titular character. “Because it was John Byrne’s run that made me fall in love with that character, you know? It was so light, fun and refreshing. So that has always been a fundamental element,” she said.
However, it was difficult for the team to determine the degree of interaction to include. Before finalizing the script, they had to decide if Jennifer would speak directly to audience members or if there was a “meta element.” They even considered having her talk to someone “more behind the scenes.” They went through “a lot of different versions of how she would do it”, and finally settled on a version of what fans have already seen in the different She-Hulk trailers. It remains to be seen how well the series-breaking fourth wall will adapt.
For executive producer and director Kat Coiro, it was “ultimately about finding balance.” Jennifer breaking the fourth wall feels like “an extension of her superpowers” to Maslany. For the actor, it’s part of the She-Hulk consciousness, “where she’s able to transition from Jen to She-Hulk with fluidity.” Throughout her transformation, she is self-aware and letting her know people are watching seemed like a natural process.
She-Hulk premieres on Disney Plus on August 18, 2022.
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