Jessica Gao on the Evolution of Using the Fourth Wall Break in ‘She-Hulk’

Head writer Jessica Gao reveals the show considered numerous options for how She-Hulk would break the fourth wall in the series.

Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is set to premiere this Thursday, and as evidenced in the trailers, Jen’s fourth wall breaking will be a big part of the series. Jessica Gao, who serves as the head writer on the show, previously discussed the importance of including fourth wall breaking in the series, stating it was one of the most essential factors from the comics she ensured carried over into the series. However, it looks like it took a bit for the creatives to decide how to work it into the show.

During the virtual press conference last week, Gao was asked how She-Hulk breaks the fourth wall in a way unique to her character. According to Gao, it was a bit of an evolutionary process to decide how the titular hero would use the fourth wall breaks within the series. “I mean, we really talked.  It went through a lot of evolutionary steps.  A long journey of, like, how much should she talk to camera?  Is she talking directly to the audience?  Is there another meta element?  Is she talking to somebody else, like, that’s more behind the scenes?”

Early scripts had the series using text boxes with editor’s notes instead of having Jennifer Walters talking directly to the camera. Gao took inspiration from the comics and how editor’s notes were added in text boxes. “At one point, there was an iteration in the scripts where, instead of really talking directly to the camera, there were, kind of text boxes that were editor’s notes, like the comic books, how there were editor’s notes in comics.”

Had the series decided to keep the text boxes, Walters would’ve interacted with them on screen, but it was ultimately scrapped. “And she was actually interacting with the editor’s notes that would be onscreen. I mean, we did eventually scrap that idea. But I mean, we went through a lot of different versions of how she would do it.”

While it would’ve been fun to see Tatiana Maslany‘s Walters interact with editor’s notes on the screen, the creatives seem to have made the right decision by choosing to have her speak directly to the camera.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres on Thursday, August 18th.

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