Action-packed law comedy She-Hulk just concluded its first season in true Jennifer Walters style, not to mention excitement for the future of the character. Director Kat Coiro recently sat down with io9 to chat about the season, creating a distinct take on a Marvel show, and that K.E.V.I.N cameo with Jen’s wink to the X-Men coming to the MCU.
Sabina Graves, io9: Let’s start with the finale. How incredible—the wildest fourth wall break I’ve ever seen. It was so unexpected to see Jen punching through the Disney+ menu and then showing up at Marvel Studios. What were the conversations like with the She-Hulk team in coming up with how to put that together, and what informed your choices for that?
Kat Coiro: Well, it’s funny, when we talk about her punching through the Disney menu—I was really hoping that people would think there had been a malfunction with their television. When we storyboarded it, I remember really getting specific about the timing so that it was enough that people would think something had happened, but not so much that they would go and switch the channel. And so it feels like that worked, which is exciting. Another big part of the process was, you have a character who is living on a show and she acknowledges that and she’s self-aware of the fact that she has a show. So when she goes to the real world of the Disney lot, we wanted it to be as realistic as possible. We changed the aspect ratio. We changed our shooting style. And we also wanted to shoot on the Disney lot. And, you know, it wasn’t always a foregone conclusion. Ironically, it was one of the hardest locations to secure. But I felt like being there was really important and the authenticity of it. The receptionist in the finale is the real Marvel receptionist. He auditioned with other actors and won the part. And so, I think as as outlandish as it is, it’s still very grounded in reality.
io9: I totally thought something was wrong with my television for like two seconds. I was like, “Wait, what did we hit? Did the dog hit the remote?” Because that happens sometimes at home. I’m curious about the inclusion of K.E.V.I.N; I did read that at one point Jon Hamm was considered as stunt casting for Kevin. When did it become an AI? Was that on the page?
Coiro: No, our hope was that [Marvel’s] Kevin Feige would do the voice, but he had no desire to do that. And he really wanted to make sure there was a separation between him and the AI brain. But yeah, there were a million names thrown out there: Danny DeVito, Jon Hamm, [and] at one point in the cuts, I was doing the voice, but I think it really works best with the robot voice. Part of the fun of Marvel is there is no idea that is not considered, so we had a billion versions of it before we landed where we did.
io9: Did the actual Kevin Feige have any input as to the look of K.E.V.I.N.’s little hat? I appreciated the nod to that.
Coiro: Yes. At first he was resistant. The first couple of illustrations had an actual baseball cap sitting on the robot, which he was not into. And so then we subtly integrated it, and slowly made it less subtle. I was just glad that everybody got it, because there was a point where it was so subtle that I don’t think everybody would have gotten it.
io9: Throughout the season there were a lot of techniques used, as far as the tone of a comedy law show, that are kind of integrated with the Marvel action. What stood out to you, in being able to capture Jen’s POV, that helped you inform the world you were showing for audiences to know that this isn’t the usual Marvel fare?
Coiro: I mean, look, I think what makes good action is never the action sequences, but the connection with the audience to the hero. And so to me, part of what is exciting about our show is we have so much time to develop her character and see these little small, intimate moments of her own dates, of her at her apartment, of her with her friends. So that then when you get to the action, you’re really invested in it because you kind of love her as a fully formed person. Plot-driven movies don’t give you that in the same way that a more meandering series can. That being said, I was so excited by how [episode] 108 allowed us to just kind of go for high-octane action and enjoy that aspect of the MCU.
io9: The throwback opening was incredible, can you take us a bit behind the process of opting for that and shooting it? I love how analog it looks.
Coiro: I just actually posted on my Instagram the boards of that sequence because that was so meticulously crafted based on the original, but also with these little flairs that tied into our show, because essentially it is a fever dream that Jen is having. And when one is a self-aware character living in their own television show, of course their fever dream is a credit sequence from another TV show. My favorite story from that is that the bodybuilder, Devon Lewis, who plays the practical, painted-green She-Hulk, he said that when he was a little boy, he always grew up dreaming about being Hulk. But he never quite imagined that that Hulk would be, you know, standing in a Zuhair Murad sparkly evening gown—we were joking about being very specific about how you manifest your childhood dreams. But it was just a blast, you know? And we shot it to look analog.
io9: Amazing. And lastly, I really love that shot of Tatiana Maslany when she asks K.E.V.I.N about the X-Men—just that look on her face I thought was iconic. Was that like a natural choice for her? Like, you guys just kind of threw it in and she was like, “This is what I’m going to go with.” Or were there ulterior motives?
Coiro: That’s really funny because we did a sequence of just questions. You know, there’s a million questions, as one can imagine, that one might ask Kevin if they were in his inner sanctum. So that was one of many questions. And that little moment, it’s just one of those magic moments. But Tatiana is so specific. She makes such thoughtful choices. So nothing is really accidental with her, which is pretty great about her.
She-Hulk is now streaming on Disney+.
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