Marvel Studios’ latest series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, recently premiered to critical acclaim and positive reception from fans. The series explores Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who becomes a Hulk after being exposed to the gamma radiation-infected blood of her cousin, Bruce Banner. In She-Hulk, Jen ends up gaining her powers due to accidental blood contamination after she and bruce were in a car accident.
Those familiar to She-Hulk’s origin in comics noticed that this scene plays out differently in the source material. In Marvel comics, Jen’s life is put in serious jeopardy after members of a mob she was prosecuting attempt to murder her. In order to save her life, Bruce decides to give her an transfusion of his blood. After Bruce’s Hulk blood is in her system, Jen begins to transform into the She-Hulk.
In an interview with Gizmodo, the show’s head writer Jessica Gao commented on why the show settled on the car crash and a large mysterious spaceship as the catalyst for Jennifer’s origin instead of a mob hit:
Well, there are several factors. First, the head honchos at Marvel specifically didn’t want it to be the mob hit… it just didn’t feel like it fit with everything. But for me, having watched this Bruce Banner, this Hulk, through all the years and all the different MCU movies, it just felt like we saw him be really tortured by this. This was not a gift. He really saw it as a curse. It forced him to not have any relationships. He spent several years, like really, really tortured by it and not viewing it as a good thing. And it took him that long to get to a place where he can just accept it and learn to live with it. So to me, it didn’t make sense for that guy to then willingly give this curse to somebody that he cares about. His cousin, who he really loves. It just didn’t seem right and true to the character and it didn’t make sense to me. So I didn’t want to do that.Jessica Gao
Omitting the backstory of a mob hit also allowed She-Hulk to essentially start from scratch and avoid unnecessary backstory. Removing the blood transfusion element also impacted Bruce’s character after Jen turns into a Hulk. Gao explains these practical reasons the origin was changed for the live-action series:
From a practical angle, we just needed to be able to start the origin story very quickly… I didn’t want to have to spend half an hour setting something up…If you do a mob hit, it’s like, ‘Well, then why? What happened?’ Let’s just get to the meat of everything. And also the nature of making it an accident takes a lot of the pressure off of the guilt that Bruce would feel having given this to Jennifer because, in the show, we really see how she struggles with it and how she also, like him, doesn’t really view it as a gift at first. So I think that would really change their dynamic if he was completely responsible and that he made the choice for her.
The first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is not streaming on Disney+.