All the ways ‘She-Hulk’ broke the MCU

Image via Disney Plus

This fall’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which was a delightful superhero sitcom to many and a feminist propaganda machine to a small but very loud minority, was the first real piece of meta storytelling from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). With Disney’s acquisition of FOX and the imminent arrival of *ahem* certain characters, many expected that the meta, foul-mouthed, mercurial merc, Deadpool, would bring the first bit of meta energy to the MCU, but just like with her comics history, Jennifer Walters does it first.  

With that being said, here are the ways She-Hulk: Attorney at Law broke, and maybe changed, the MCU.  

Is Captain America a virgin? 

Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter - MCU
Image via Marvel Studios

Let’s start with the first She-Hulk moment that captured the internet’s collective attention. Has an MCU property ever directly discussed sex in this way? 

A running joke through the She-Hulk pilot is Jennifer and Bruce’s debate about Steve Rogers’ virginity. Jennifer is adamant that between being single pre-Super Solder serum, his little 70-year ice nap, and fighting Loki, Ultron and Thanos, Steve Rogers won’t have had much time for ‘dating.’

In the pilot’s post-credit scene, Jennifer pretends to be drunk to get Bruce to spill the truth, which he promptly does — Steve Rogers lost his virginity to a girl on the USO tour in 1943! It was such an MCU-breaking moment that it received a reply from Captain America himself, Chris Evans.  

Man with metal claws fights in a bar??

Wolverine, Marvel
Image via Marvel Comics

In She-Hulk‘s second episode, during a particularly low point for Jen, we find her scrolling through a website and a couple of news articles immediately piqued the interest of eagle-eyed viewers. The first reads “Man fights with metal claws in bar brawl.” Man. Bar brawl. Metal claws. Do we dare say the X-word

The second headline — “Why there is a giant statue of a man sticking out of the ocean”— is a reference to one of the many unanswered questions from the climax of 2021’s Eternals.  

Megan Thee Stallion’s appearance

Megan Thee Stallion and She-Hulk
Image via Disney Plus

A big positive about She-Hulk was that it never took itself too seriously and it was always willing to have fun. So, when there’s a catfishing plotline, what do they do but aim for one of the biggest stars in the world right now? And if you manage to get Megan Thee Stallion to cameo in your show, of course, self-proclaimed Megan Thee Stallion superfan, Tatiana Maslany has to dance with her (as She-Hulk no less) and that is exactly what happened.  

Megan Thee Stallion’s cameo appearance in the third episode was a pleasant surprise on its own, but to get her and She-Hulk dancing in the episode’s post-credits scene is just the kind of fun we do not deserve.  

Lots of low-level characters

Emil Blonsky retreat She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Image via Marvel Studios/Disney Plus

Over her decades-long run in the comics, Jennifer Walters has often represented some of the weirdest and most obscure super-powered characters. In contrast to the majority of the MCU that has understandably spotlighted the more important characters, She-Hulk takes a page from its comics roots to showcase some low-level characters.  

They aren’t all represented by Jennifer, and some are not even clients, but the show was able to introduce us to very obscure and eccentric characters, including Mr. Immortal, an immortal man who continuously fakes his death to leave relationships instead of breaking up with his partners. We also get introductions to characters like Man-Bull, Águila, Saracen, and Porcupine, four characters that even the most learned comic book historians might have not known about; this writer had definitely not heard of them before episode seven of She-Hulk.

Introduction of MCU Daredevil  

Daredevil in She-Hulk
Image via Disney Plus

Fans of Matt Murdock/Daredevil, especially fans of Charlie Cox’s portrayal, would have been pleased to see Matt’s delightful cameo in last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and anticipation was high for his full MCU debut in She-Hulk. The show kept us waiting for this reveal, first teasing his appearance at the end of episode five before introducing us to the yellow-and-red-clad Devil of Hell’s Kitchen.  

Of course, this version of Daredevil is a lot lighter than the version we will eventually get in his upcoming Disney+ show, but it was pleasing to see a more jovial side of both Matt and Daredevil and his chemistry with Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters was one of the highlights of the show. Who knows, maybe she will be taking a trip to New York very soon.  

Fourth Wall breaks  

She-Hulk Fourth Wall breaks
Image via Disney Plus

The big ones. Like its titular hero, there wasn’t a (fourth) wall She-Hulk couldn’t smash through, and each new fourth wall break delivered either a deeper understanding of Jennifer’s psyche or her humorous outlook on both her world and the wider MCU at large. As fans of the show know, Jennifer Walters breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience a lot of times over the course of her nine-episode run and we can’t detail every instance here, so we have picked some of our favorite fourth wall breaks from the show’s first season.  

“Fun lawyer show” 

Charlie_Cox_Tatiana_Maslany_Matt_Murdock_She-Hulk_Attorney_at_Law
Image via Disney Plus

In the first-ever fourth wall break in an MCU property, Jennifer Walters confirms that she’s a Hulk in the show’s pilot and acknowledges that she knows that the audience won’t be able to focus on the “fun lawyer show” until we know an origin story, so she introduces a flashback. 

It’s a nice twist on the superhero origin story template and immediately shows us that She-Hulk is going to try to be different from other superhero properties.  

“I’m a completely different person now” 

Image: Marvel Studios

While Jen and Bruce share a phone call about Jen’s decision to take on Emil Blonsky as a client in episode two, the show uses the opportunity to address the Hulk-sized elephant that has been in the room since 2012. In discussing his fight with Emil in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk says that the fight was so long ago that he’s a “completely different person now. Literally.” Jen looks at us, the audience, and lets out a simple “ha.” This is, of course, a reference to the recasting of Edward Norton (who played Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk) with Mark Ruffalo for 2012’s The Avengers.

“Just remember whose show this actually is”

Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer "Jen" Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios' She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios

At the start of episode three, Jen wants us to remember whose show this actually is so when she (hilariously) takes her hands off her still-moving car to admit that she knows that we can’t wait to see Wong, she makes it clear that this won’t be “one of those cameos every week type of shows.” Well, except Bruce, and Blonsky, and Wong.

Twitter armor

benedict wong wong she hulk marvel
Image via Marvel Studios

Speaking of Wong, Jen starts her story in episode four by stating that we, the audience, “look happy,” positing that it must be because we saw that Wong is back in the episode (it was). She goes on to explain that “everyone loves Wong” and his appearance “is like giving the show Twitter armor for a week.” Little did she know that Madisynn was going to be the show’s Twitter armor that week. This is also an almost prescient acknowledgment of the kind of frosty reception the show was destined to receive from certain corners of the internet.  

“I bet there’s a fun tag”

Jameela Jamil as Titania in 'She-Hulk: Attorney at Law'
Image via Marvel Studios/Disney Plus

After being served with papers by Titania, Jen looks to the audience and simply says “Kind of a bummer way to end this episode. I hope there’s a fun tag” and guess what, there was! We are back in Kamar-Taj with our new favorite duo, Wongers and Madisynn discussing their favorite drinks and watching This Is Us. 

“You guys are still here?”

Tatiana Maslany She-Hulk
Image via Marvel Studios/Disney Plus

After her night with Matt, Jennifer is surprised that the audience is still there — a nod to one of the classic post-credit scenes & fourth wall breaks from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off — and she grows increasingly more incredulous as the show keeps on moving with scene after scene, even stating that the episode already came to a satisfying conclusion (trust her).  

She then realizes that this must be the penultimate episode, what does this “tacked-on set piece” mean for her and the show? What is the big twist, is there a Red Hulk or is he getting fridged? It’s hilarious to watch Jennifer try to break down story dynamics in real time because we are just as confused as she is about what is coming next.  

‘The Savage She-Hulk’

She-Hulk retro intro
Screengrab via Disney Plus

In another example of She-Hulk just doing whatever it wanted, the finale starts with a sufficiently campy montage which both serves as a recap of the season and a homage to the opening credits of the 1978 TV show, The Incredible Hulk. 

Breaking out of Disney Plus and going to see K.E.V.I.N

KEVIN from She-Hulk
Image via Disney Plus

In what is perhaps the biggest creative swing an MCU title has ever taken, after about 15 mins of Jennifer getting increasingly confused by the various plotlines and superhero punch fests, she literally breaks out of Disney Plus and into the ‘real’ world via the Marvel Studios: Assembled title.  

Here, she walks around the Disney lot before finally arriving at the She-Hulk production offices to confront some of the actual She-Hulk writers about their story choices in the finale. She is informed that there are “certain things that need to happen in a superhero story” and that “this is the story that Kevin wants.” So, of course, she hunts down Kevin, even though she is told that no one talks to Kevin and one writer declares that he’ll “murder” her to protect Kevin.  

She eventually finds Kevin, only to realize that he’s actually K.E.V.I.N — Knowledge Enhanced Visual Interconnectivity Nexus — a giant AI brain making all of Marvel Studios’ decisions. What? Were you expecting Kevin Feige? Interestingly, K.E.V.I.N wears a visor that looks suspiciously close to Kevin Feige’s numerous Marvel-themed baseball hats. He says that he’ll answer all her questions but first, she has to transform back to Jennifer because she is “very expensive.” This whole sequence, and the five minutes scene that follows it, is in this writer’s opinion, some of the funniest stuff to come out of the MCU. It is also the MCU poking fun at itself and the myth and stories around it in a way that you wouldn’t expect from a billion-dollar enterprise.  

In order to avoid a second-by-second breakdown of everything that happened in Jennifer’s one-of-a-kind conversation with K.E.V.I.N, we’ll just detail some of the universe-shattering questions and answers that are delivered in the scene. 

Firstly, there’s the aforementioned plea from K.E.V.I.N to She-Hulk to change back to Jennifer because of her visual effects expense, which she obliges to, but not before he asks that she wait for the camera to be off her because the visual effects team “has moved on to another project” and then we hear a snippet of Ludwig Göransson’s Black Panther score to imply that they’ve moved on to working on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.  

Then after declaring that he possesses the most advanced entertainment algorithm in the world, K.E.V.I.N states that he produces “near-perfect products.” Some are better than others, but he leaves that debate to the internet (and boy, do they oblige). 

In her closing argument to K.E.V.I.N to convince him to change the finale, Jen uses a real-world allegation that Marvel movies tend to end the same way, to which K.E.V.I.N quickly asks “who is saying that?” 

After convincing K.E.V.I.N to change the plotlines in the finale and bring back Daredevil because “a woman has needs” and K.E.V.I.N agrees that historically they’ve “been light in that department,” she settles down to ask some questions that seem straight out of the fans’ subreddit. She touches on the myriad of daddy issues prevalent across MCU titles before dropping that dreaded X-word and outrightly asking when we are “getting the X-Men” before giving the audience a thumbs up.  

It’s a thrilling sequence that manages to advance Jennifer’s plot while also subverting our expectations, throwing in some Easter eggs, and allowing the MCU to make fun of itself and outside perception. It is something that will perhaps never be replicated but it gave a much-needed jolt of change to the MCU. To his credit, K.E.V.I.N manages to get the last dig in when he tells Jen that he’ll see her on the big screen, followed by her enthusiastic reply of “really?” and him simply saying “No.” Come on K.E.V.I.N, give us the She-Hulk movie. 

Skaar 

Skaar She-Hulk
Photo via Marvel Studios

Speaking of K.E.V.I.N, he mentions that Hulk has to explain what he was doing on Sakaar, but Jennifer says he should save it for the movie. Bruce doesn’t follow this advice and during a family barbecue at the end of the finale, he introduces his family to his son, Skaar. World War Hulk, when?!

What did you think of these universe-breaking actions She-Hulk: Attorney at Law accomplished? What were some of your most shocking She-Hulk moments? What were your best fourth wall breaks? What would you ask K.E.V.I.N if you could speak with him? All nine episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law are now streaming on Disney Plus.