Jessica Gao on ‘She-Hulk’ and Fourth Wall Breaking: “A Foundational Element”

For head writer Jessica Gao, it was important to keep the fourth wall breaking element in ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.’

Last week, we here are Murphy’s Multiverse were lucky enough to attend the virtual press conference for Marvel Studios’ latest Disney+ series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. On hand to promote the series were stars Tatiana Maslany and Ginger Gonzaga, as well as director and executive producer Kat Coiro and head writer and executive producer Jessica Gao.

During the conference, Gao was asked how she went about adapting such an iconic character like She-Hulk, and the important elements deemed necessary to retain for the series. According to Gao, the most important aspect she felt necessary to retain when adapting She-Hulk into live-action was the fourth wall breaking. Which shouldn’t be too surprising as the Rick & Morty writer cited John Burns‘ for helping her fall in love with the character. “For me, foundationally, I felt like first and foremost was the fourth wall breaking and the kind of meta humor and the self-awareness.  ‘Cause it was the John Burn run that made me fall in love with this character.”

She felt it was important to keep the lightheartedness from the comics, something the series seems to have successfully captured judging by the trailers for the series. Gao is best known for her work on “Pickle Rick,” the iconic episode of Rick & Morty that went on to earn a Primetime Creative Arts Emmy nomination. Comedy television is where she’s made her career, so bringing that tone to She-Hulk felt right. “For me, because I come from TV comedy, like, the comedy was kind of, like, a priority.  But then, what’s great about having such an incredible cast is, then it feels like you’re cheating a little bit as a writer,” she explained.  “Because they come in and they really just imbue this, like, humanity and this realness to these characters.  Where you were like, “Oh, I was kinda focused on jokes, but you guys made her a real person.”

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law hits Disney+ on August 18th, with a new episode premiering every Thursday.

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