She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has delivered an exciting new hero into the MCU's growing Phase 4 story in Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters. This journey for She-Hulk has been a particularly long one as well, as its nine-episode slate ties it for the longest live-action Disney+ series in the MCU to date along with 2021's WandaVision.
Outside of the animated What If...? series, which was also nine episodes long, every other Disney+ entry within the MCU has had a six-installment run over the past two years - a trend that is set to continue with upcoming series in 2023.
However, at one point in time, Marvel had initially planned out a ten-episode first season for She-Hulk. So what happened to the tenth episode?
She-Hulk Director on Season 1's 'Missing' Episode
Speaking with The Direct's Pamela Gores, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law director Kat Coiro shared new information on why the show lost one episode from its original 10-episode count in Season 1.
Coiro explained how much of a luxury it is with Marvel to not have to worry about meeting a set number of episodes in a season, as she shared that changes to the story "dictated the length of the season." The process behind each episode focused on making sure what was best to deliver each week, which she feels is the way all TV shows should be.
The Direct: “She-Hulk was announced to be a ten-episode series yet ended up being nine. Can you shed any light on what changed?
Coiro: “One of the most amazing experiences I’ve had as a creator and as an artist is Marvel is not bound by the same rules as, you know, other TV shows that have to be 22 minutes. And the story really dictated the length of the season. And so as the story came into focus and as we started putting the pieces together, it landed at nine. It could’ve been eight, it could’ve been eleven. And it’s the same with the length of the episodes. There isn’t a number you have to hit. It really is, ‘What’s best for this episode,’ which, in my opinion, is how it should be.”
Coiro also discussed the show's post-credits scenes that took the spotlight in the first half of the season, even noting that the one between Benedict Wong's Wong and Patty Guggenheim's Madisynn wasn't scripted before it was shot. The director expressed how incredible it was to see such collaborations between the actors, using their strengths and weaknesses while "letting people get loose, and have fun, and play around:"
The Direct: “Each of the first four episodes had a really funny post-credits Were those all planned from the start of filming?"
Coiro: “There were definitely episodes that had tags and then there were times where we would react to what was happening on the set. You know, when Wong and Madisynn have their little moment, that was not scripted but they had such incredible comedic chemistry that, at the end of the day, I had them sit on the couch, and threw a couple cameras on them and said, ‘Go. Go forth and make comedy.’ And they sure did. So, part of what was amazing about this process was the collaboration and really leaning into the strengths of our actors. And part of the secret of comedy is letting people get loose, and have fun, and play around. And so, whenever we had the opportunity to do that we would.”
Why Do the MCU's Episode Counts Vary?
Although the MCU's Disney+ entries have been fairly consistent for the most part in terms of how many episodes each one lasts, She-Hulk's director made it clear that there is no set goal for how many episodes each season needs to be.
This topic has been one that fans have discussed often, as some of the series have felt rushed with their episode count while others have felt like they dragged on for just a little too long. But on the other hand, Marvel has made its decisions about episode count quite consciously, as WandaVision and She-Hulk both brought a sitcom/comedy show feel to the MCU even though their total runtimes are close to their MCU counterparts.
Even though the show was originally set to have 10 episodes, Corio made sure that fans know Marvel isn't necessarily set on a six or nine-episode count for its Disney+ entries, only focusing on what's best for each individual story. Episode counts will continue to vary, as shown by 2024's 18-episode Daredevil: Born Again (an MCU record), meaning that future entries could change in that respect with each new release.
All nine episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law are now streaming on Disney+.