Marvel Studios Execs Worried About She-Hulk’s Sexuality In Season 1

By Russ Milheim Posted:
She-Hulk, MCU, Tatiana Maslany

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has been a Marvel Studios project like no other. From its half-hour legal comedy structure to its fourth-wall-breaking antics, the introduction of Jennifer Walters has been one to remember. It even brought Daredevil back to everyone's screens.

What some may not have expected, however, was how his introduction episode ended: with both Jen and Matt hooking up.

Sexuality is something that isn't often talked about in the MCU. Sure, there are kisses and romantic relationships—but when it comes to sex, it's usually avoided.

But with She-Hulk, that part of Jen's character journey was there almost from the get-go. Even outside of Matt Murdock, there was both her dating app subplot and, of course, Josh, the wedding date everyone now hates deeply.

But how did Marvel Studios feel about embracing such a touchy subject for some?

Tackling She-Hulk's Sexuality

She-Hulk, Daredevil
Marvel Studios

In an interview with The Wrap, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law director Kat Coiro talked about the series and the journey of getting the show to explore the sex life of a woman in her 30s within a modern-day world.

The director revealed that "there was lot more fear around [Jennifer Walter's] sex life than there was about making fun of Marvel:"

“It was definitely a part of our conversations, because you can’t make a story about a woman in her 30s navigating modern life and not address sex. And I do think that the media is strangely more prude when it comes to the female point of view in regards to sex. And, you know, we’ve got Iron Man doing a lot of things, but then there were all these conversations and there was a lot more fear around her sex life than there was about making fun of Marvel."

She made it clear that she "never wanted to go too far with the sex," but she never wanted the subject to feel taboo:

"But we just kept saying, this is her story, and this is her truth, and we’ll handle it in a way that’s light. I love the show because I think it really reaches all ages. And I like the fact that young people like it. So, I never wanted to go too far with the sex, but I also don’t want sex to be taboo, even for young people. And so it was always finding that balance.”

The star of the series, Tatiana Maslany, was happy that the creatives behind the show were able to pull off portraying Jen's sex life

She referred to those story aspects as a "kind of... gleeful horniess," in which Maslany was clearly ecstatic to have that part of Jen's story in the final product:

“They did! They did it! I love it. I mean, Jessica Gao and I and Ginger [Gonzaga], we all talk about how horny this show is. That’s like what we love the most about it, it’s kind of got a gleeful horniness. You know, which just doesn’t feel like a sort of reverent superhero thing. And it really, it’s like, I don’t know. It’s like, giddy, it’s feminine, it’s about desire. It’s about whatever... Jen is owning so many parts of her story and owning the throughlines of her stories. So there’s something about her just like, so confident with all of it, which is really great.”

When the outlet brought up Coiro's revelation that Marvel Studios was hesitant about portraying Jen's sexuality, they then asked Maslany if she had heard similar things. She pointed out that "[she] wasn't super privy to conversations about that:"

“I mean, I wasn’t super privy to conversations about that. I definitely know though that a women’s sexuality and ownership of it is very threatening to people. And it’s interesting to me that that is the thing they would’ve been squeamish about. It’s like, why? What does it mean..."

She said that Jen "owning her sexuality and not being a victim of it" was a key part of the character's story:

"... her owning her sexuality and not being a victim of it– at the same time, we do explore that as well. There’s a huge betrayal that happens to her in one episode where that guy comes home with her and he films her, he takes pictures of her in a super vulnerable state. So it’s like, showing that, also showing her own her sexuality and being super confident, there’s a lot of stuff at play there.”

Jessica Gao, head writer for the series, noted that the show was always meant to "[explore] the total breadth of a person's life," which also happens to include "a regular sex life:"

“I mean, from the beginning, this was always a show that explored the total breadth of a person’s life, y’know, of this woman’s life, which includes having a personal life, which includes having a regular sex life. That is a part of our lives and I wanted… the show to be reflective of that. You know, we wanted to show her dating..."

She revealed that the moment they were told they could use Daredevil, she knew that when those two people were together, "[they'd] definitely [do] it:"

"... when we were told that we could use Daredevil, immediately we were like, oh, they have to we have to get them — like, you get those two people together, they’re definitely doing it. And it was just such a wonderful bonus that they had this incredible, explosive chemistry. Like when you watch that bar scene with them, you’re like, ‘Oh my. These people need to get a room.’ And then they do!”

More Sex in the MCU?

She-Hulk, Daredevil
Marvel Studios

It's great to see the storytelling capabilities of the MCU expand, and with She-Hulk embracing the sometimes taboo topic of sex, those boundaries have been pushed even further.

Obviously, it's not like sex will crop up in every project. For example, one should not expect it to factor heavily into Avengers: Secret Wars, no matter what alternate universes are present.

It is worth noting how She-Hulk isn't the first Marvel project to touch upon sex. The former Netflix Marvel shows had it crop up more than once in shows such as Daredevil and Luke Cage. So it does feel fitting that Matt Murdock was able to help bring more of that along with him to the MCU proper.

Though Jennifer Walters certainly wasn't the first in the MCU either—the Eternals got to the finish line first.

While Tatiana Maslany's show may have been polarizing to some, its uniqueness truly brought something new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Hopefully, those in charge see this and find some way to bring the series back for another season.

She-Hulk is now streaming on Disney+.

- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.