Charlie Cox had the opportunity to make his Disney+ debut as Matt Murdock alongside Tatiana Maslany in Episode 8 of She-Hulk, finally donning the Daredevil suit for the first time in the proper MCU. This appearance was a long time coming after Cox's brief moment in Spider-Man: No Way Home, giving him a considerable amount of screen time as he teamed up with Jennifer Walters to take down Leap-Frog.
Rumors had pointed to Daredevil being involved with She-Hulk for nearly a year before his debut, which built up plenty of anticipation considering he hadn't been seen in any Marvel project since Daredevil and the other Netflix series were canceled.
But even considering how much Marvel tried to keep this inclusion a surprise ahead of She-Hulk's debut, a new report revealed the extreme lengths the team went to in order to keep the secret.
She-Hulk's Use of CGI for Daredevil Inclusion
Speaking with The Art of VFX, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Production VFX Supervisor Shannon Justison shared how much secrecy the team used to keep Charlie Cox's return as Daredevil hidden from the public.
Justison revealed that most of the fight between Daredevil and She-Hulk was delivered through CGI, as the team wasn't even "allowed to bring his costume out on location" during the shoot. There was only one day to scan Cox for close-ups and a number of stunts to shoot with mocap technology, using a number of different processes to bring together the entire sequence for Daredevil in this series:
"It’s probably not invisible to other VFX professionals, but most of the She-Hulk vs Daredevil fight in episode 8 is CG. This was largely due to the secrecy around Daredevil—we weren’t allowed to bring his costume out on location, so we were only able to shoot clean plates and the stunt-driving shots at the garage. We scanned the heck out of that garage knowing we’d have to rebuild it digitally. Then there was only a single day to shoot Charlie’s close-ups on blue."
Justison also revealed that the scene was comprised of an amalgamation of various bits of footage, from stunt mocaps to Tatiana Maslany's performance:
"We did a big stunt mocap shoot for the fight action and parkour moves, which was a huge help. The entire scene was a real jigsaw puzzle in post—a mix of clean plates, stunt mocap, blue screen performances, volume pick-ups for Tatiana’s performances, and driving plates for Leapfrog. We worked closely with editor Jamie Gross and our postvis team at The Third Floor to reconstruct all the parts into a coherent scene, and then turned the whole thing over to Weta to let them work their magic."
Did Keeping Daredevil a Secret Work for Marvel?
It's no surprise that Marvel Studios wanted to keep Charlie Cox's return a secret, especially considering the actor knew about his MCU comeback for years before he actually showed up next to Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home. And while the development team did everything in their power to keep his comeback a secret, it's a shock that this fervor didn't apply to other parts of She-Hulk's production process.
Fans were shocked to see that Marvel actually included a shot of Daredevil in the second full trailer for She-Hulk that premiered during San Diego Comic-Con 2022 - a secret that could have been kept more under wraps until the show began streaming only weeks later. Full shots of Cox were even used in later promos, although it's still unclear why that decision was made.
But regardless of those reasons, secrecy remained of the utmost importance for the VFX team on She-Hulk for Daredevil, especially with his episode winding up as one of the most-watched episodes all season. Now, the only question is how that process for keeping secrets will be applied with Cox's comeback in Daredevil: Born Again, which already has fans looking forward to more of The Man Without Fear.
All nine episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law are available to stream on Disney+