Why She-Hulk Star Tatiana Maslany Was Nervous About Joining the MCU

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
She-Hulk actress MCU Marvel

Now that Ms. Marvel has come and gone and Thor: Love and Thunder has made its MCU debut, the next live-action project on the docket is She-Hulk: Attorney at Law for Disney+. Starring Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk has been described as a legal comedy where an everyday lawyer is tasked with defending superheroes in court while dealing with her own smashing transformation. 

Of course, Maslany won't be alone. Joining her is Mark Ruffalo's Hulk, Tim Roth's Abomination, and Jameela Jamil as the villainous Titania, as well as a number of rumored cameos, including Daredevil

However, leading up to its August 17 release, the conversation surrounding She-Hulk has been interesting, to say the least. In addition to the backlash surrounding She-Hulk's CGI, some were surprised by both the content and tone presented in the Disney+ show's trailer, suggesting that this MCU Disney+ series will be like none other. 

Interestingly enough, She-Hulk's irreverence, and how it speaks to the issues her character will deal with, is what appealed to the series' leading star and helped calm her nerves about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Why Tatiana Maslany Was "Nervous" About the MCU

She-Hulk, Tatiana Maslany

In talking with SFX Magazine, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law star Tatiana Maslany revealed why she was nervous about joining the MCU and what convinced her to embrace the role. 

According to Maslany, She-Hulk was her first MCU audition, and since it was held "over Zoom," she didn't know "who all was present:"

"This audition was the first real [one[, and it was done over Zoom so I don't even know, really, who all was present. But I met with Kevin [Feige] after I was cast and was able to sit down and chat with him."

In regard to any reservations she had about joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Maslany explained that her nerves stemmed from her prizing "character over everything" and she "just didn't know how much of that would exist in bigger projects:"

"I've always sort of been nervous to step into a world like this because I prize character over everything, and I just didn't know how much that would exist in bigger projects. But when I read the pilot, this was such an unexpected take on a superhero story. It's so human. There's really great explorations of the mundanity of life, in really great ways. And also, it's speaking to something that I'm really interested in, which is when you suddenly start getting seen as something; then you're seen as one thing, and you become commodified as that thing. What this show does, but in a funny and unexpected way, is deal with this idea."

From what the MCU faithful have seen of She-Hulk so far, Maslany will be playing two roles: Jennifer Walters and She-Hulk. And, much like Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner, her character won't only be dealing with new abilities, but another persona and how the world responds to that:

"How do you own the wholeness of what your body is when something has happened to you; or you are suddenly seen so differently; or there's an expectation on you to behave a certain way because of how you look? There's all these undertones that I find really compelling in the subtext of this sort of story. Also, what is the expectation on a female superhero versus a male superhero? It's incredibly different."

When asked whether Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige did anything to address her concerns, the actress shared that it was him getting Rick and Morty and Silicon Valley's "Jessica Gao to write the script:" 

"The fact that he got Jessica Gao to write the script; that her pitch was the one that grabbed him. It's so irreverent, and it's so risky and fun and funny. I think was a really big indicator for me. But also, when you talk to Kevin, he's just like a big nerd. He loves movies, and is excited by storytelling and is really curious to try things out."

Is She-Hulk a Comedy, Commentary, or Both?

Given the prominence of the MCU and its extremely passionate fan base, joining the MCU is understandably daunting. However, as to Maslany's concerns about whether "character over everything" would exist "in bigger projects," she had nothing to fear. 

Beginning with 2008's Iron Man, character has always been the primary focus of any MCU project and is arguably even more so today, as most Marvel Studios' Disney+ series have, in fact, been character studies. 

In these statements from Maslany, it's interesting to hear from her about where She-Hulk's humor comes from and the purpose that it serves.

While audiences will have to wait and see just what this show has in store, it sounds as if the MCU's first legal comedy will also be a commentary on how the public tries to shape one's identity and, as the actress puts it, ask "what is the expectation on a female superhero versus a male superhero?"

She-Hulk debuts on Disney+ on August 18. 

- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.