To the surprise of absolutely no one who watched even a minute of the Disney Plus series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law‘s lead actress Tatiana Maslany, head writer Jessica Gao, and director Kat Coiro have confirmed that the development of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s latest entry was predicated entirely on making fun of their own strawman interpretations of dissatisfied male Marvel fans.
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The trio provided this insight into their live-action take on the Jade Giantess during a post-season finale interview given to Variety.
Speaking first with Maslany, the trade news outlet asked the She-Hulk star how it felt to see said finale “tackle some of the exact same trolling comments that Marvel fans have been making”, to which she praised, “Jessica Gao is a genius and knows about the culture we’re living in and her position in it when she’s writing these stories about a woman superhero.”
“She knows what that response is going to be,” added the Jennifer Walters actress. “As a cast, it was delightful sending each other these troll responses, like ‘Oh my god, give them a week and then they’re going to literally see this pop up verbatim in the show and become the villains of the show.’ It was thrilling.”
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Met with a follow-up question of whether or not she was “expecting to face the trolls when you signed on the for the show,” Maslany asserted, “Reading the script, it was so true. There’s so much resistance to a woman just existing in the space of superheroes.”
“There’s always going to be that,” she added. “I sort of anticipated it. It’s why I also feel it’s important. There’s such an entitlement to space held by certain people, and to even exist as She-Hulk is like a f–k-you, and I love that.”
Turning to Gao, Variety asked the series’ head writer if Marvel had given her “any suggestions for the hate comments they get online,” to which she confirmed, “That conversation between Jen and K.E.V.I.N. is very much the relationship that I have with real-life Kevin and a lot of that is taken from conversations I’ve had with him.”
“That scene [in the finale] was so much longer in the scripts,” she then teased of a particularly painful alternate timeline. “If they had let me, I probably would have written a 10-minute conversation of my avatar arguing with Kevin. This is probably the tightest version of what it could have been. There were a couple of jabs where Kevin was like, “OK, this is a little mean now.”
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Further questioned as to how it felt “to accurately predict what the trolls would be saying”, Gao declared, “Our writers room opened three years ago. The fact that we were able to predict what the reaction was going to be, what a lot of the trolling comments were going to be, really shows how very tired and unoriginal these trolls are.”
“That really tickled me because the little troll that lives inside of me really loves trolling the trolls,” she said.
Finally moving to Coiro, Variety posed a similar line of inquiry to the series’ director, beginning with the question of “What was Kevin Feige’s reaction to the finale?”
“Kevin had a huge hand in that finale and in the character of K.E.V.I.N,” said Coiro of the series’ VFX-artist mocking, franchise quality drop-confirming, ‘Ha Ha I was merely pretending‘ finale. “Ironically, I was more squeamish about it than they were. I was like, ‘Are we going too far? Are we throwing Marvel and fans under the bus by putting down Marvel films?'”
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“[Marvel has] such a self-deprecating, irreverent sense about themselves and were totally willing to poke fun at themselves,” she excused of the She-Hulk‘s conclusion. “Any criticism you can lob at them, they have thought of.”
The director was then asked if she had “to dig deep for all of the Marvel criticism of just scroll through Twitter,” to which she recalled, “One thing I noticed is that at the beginning of the series, I was getting a lot of nasty, mean comments.”
“As it’s gone forward, that has stopped,” she noted. “I think it’s because now they realize when they target us, they’re playing directly into our hands. And we called it, which is pretty gratifying. It’s so satisfying.”
“Even negative commentary, I always interpret as engagement,” she concluded, giving weight to the growing sentiment against even hate-watching Hollywood’s current output. “If people are that angry, they are paying attention. I look at all of it as positive.”
The full run of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’s pointless, spite-driven first season is now streaming on Disney Plus.
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