After WandaVision delivered the MCU's first sitcom on Disney+, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will dive into the legal comedy genre across nine half-hour episodes. Among the hilarious elements within the series will be Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters breaking the fourth wall to talk to the audience - as exclusively revealed by The Direct last year.
At several points in the latest trailer, She-Hulk turns to the camera to deliver a quick off-handed remark to the viewers. Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool may be the Marvel character most famously associated with breaking the fourth wall thanks to his two hit movies, but She-Hulk was doing that long before the Merc with the Mouth on the comic side.
Now, the cast and crew of She-Hulk have addressed why Walters breaks the fourth wall in her Disney+ series.
Why She-Hulk Breaks the Fourth Wall
Speaking with IGN at San Diego Comic-Con, the cast and crew of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law discussed the fourth-wall-breaking comedy in the Disney+ series.
Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, actress Tatiana Maslany explained that her hero's "hyper-awareness in a lot of ways feels like her superpower," which leads to her knowledge of the audience:
"What's interesting to me is the connection. Her consciousness, the same way that it flips between both bodies, she's also aware of the cameras. So there's this thing where she's having to be so aware of every part of the mechanism that to me feels like a woman moving through the world. You have to be so aware of the systems that you're in. And you are just so aware of how it is when you're walking down the street; who's there, who's that? That hyper-awareness in a lot of ways feels like her superpower and I think that's fun. And also it's a great way to bring the audience in. They already jumped into the universe of the MCU. But to be like 'Hey, I see you coming in, so let's go together' is kind of a fun thing."
Director Kat Coiro promised there are "some big surprises coming to you regarding the fourth wall," whilst also reiterating that She-Hulk was talking to comic readers before Deadpool:
"Oh, we've got some big surprises coming to you regarding the fourth wall. I always love to say that She-Hulk has been breaking the fourth wall since 1980, way before Deadpool, way before Fleabag, and it's just a part of who she is. She's a woman who controls her own narrative."
Head writer Jessica Gao noted John Byrne's She-Hulk comic run as the inspiration for the series, saying it was important to implement many unique elements from those stories into the series:
"What really made me fall in love with She-Hulk is the John Byrne run where she famously breaks the fourth wall. And what I loved about that run was how meta it was too. Because not only did she break the fourth wall, she also argued with Byrne himself, she argued with the editor, and they also made fun of the format and the tropes of comic books. So all of that was really important for me to kind of seed into the series because I just feel like you can't really do a true She-Hulk series if she isn't at least a little self-aware."
Director Anu Valia described the show as "a self-aware comedy," promising "breaking the fourth wall asks a lot of questions that [she hopes they] get to answer:"
"I think that's such an exciting part of the show that I really think fans are going to love to look for and break apart. So I don't want to give too much away, but I just think it's a self-aware comedy. I think breaking the fourth wall asks a lot of questions that I hope we get to answer for you in the show. And so I just don't want to give too much away, but it's very fun, and it's very cool."
More to She-Hulk Than Meets the Eye
When The Direct originally reported that She-Hulk would be breaking the fourth wall on Disney+, it was accompanied by the news that Jennifer Walters would acknowledge she is a character within the MCU. Who knows exactly how that will play into Attorney at Law, but it will undoubtedly lead to plenty of self-aware jokes at the expense of Marvel Studios.
The exclusive report also came with the news that She-Hulk will have "multiple interactions with real-world celebrities" throughout her series, paving the way for surprising cameos. With Jessica Gao making reference to comics in which Walters spoke with the writers and editors, the doors are wide open to members of the crew, perhaps even Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, appearing.
Based on the explanations given in IGN's interview, there appears to be a much deeper justification behind her fourth-wall-breaking than just pure comedic value. Walters' acknowledgment of the audience serves as a metaphor for her hyper-awareness and that of many women today.
There's no telling how viewers will react to She-Hulk placing so much emphasis on its comedy, especially as fans begin to get increasingly fed up with the MCU's brand of comedy. Thor: Love and Thunder was recently flamed for its hilarious nature, so hopefully Attorney at Law can strike a better balance.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will premiere Wednesday, August 17, exclusively on Disney+.