Tatiana Maslany plays Jennifer Walters aka She-Hulk in Marvel’s latest Disney+ series – but who actually is She-Hulk?
Marvel’s latest television series stars Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk – while she’s not quite the most obscure character they’ve ever brought to screens, she’s also not quite steeped in pop culture at the level of Spider-Man, the Neither did the Fantastic Four or their cousin The Hulk.
With that in mind, you might be wondering… who actually is She-Hulk? What is the character’s fictional history and what is the character’s real-life publication history? What is their origin story and who are their big villains? Does she have a sidekick?
Here’s everything you need to know about She-Hulk ahead of the character’s Disney+ debut.
Who is She Hulk?
She-Hulk is the overpowering alter ego of Jennifer Walters, a New York City-based attorney. Walters is Bruce Banner’s cousin – and, much like him, transforms into a big green monster when angry or stressed.
Or somehow, anyway. Walters has a little more control over her powers (and temperament) than her cousin, and her transformation is a little less dramatic; Instead of growing into a full behemoth, she only grows a few feet taller, a little more muscular, and a lot greener. It’s a little more manageable when it comes to lifestyle, although obviously it still comes with its own problems.
In both her human and superhuman form, Jennifer Walters works in the superhuman law practice of the New York law firm Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway.
What is the origin story of She-Hulk?
Bruce Banner (who, lest we forget, is Jennifer Walters’ cousin – her mother and father were siblings) acquired his Hulk powers by experimenting with gamma rays. Not long after his first transformation, Bruce went to Jennifer to tell her what had happened and ask her for advice – but arrived shortly after her car accident.
With her life at stake, Bruce agrees to donate blood to Jennifer – but a transfusion of his Hulk blood resulted in Jennifer developing similar powers, albeit to a slightly lesser extent.
There have been some hints that the Disney+ series could change aspects of this backstory — you might see Bruce and Jennifer involved in the car crash together — but the basic building blocks will likely remain intact.
Who is She-Hulk’s nemesis? Does she have a buddy?
One of She-Hulk’s recurring enemies is Titania, a rival of Jennifer’s who was first introduced in a 1984 crossover comic. Similar to She-Hulk, Titania’s powers result in a physical transformation that takes her from small and frail to someone taller and stronger.
Titania gets her powers after striking a deal with the villainous Doctor Doom – while Titania is appearing in the upcoming Disney+ show, Doctor Doom is unlikely to appear, so her on-screen origin story will likely be slightly different. Jameela Jamil will play Titania in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, and the The Good Place star has described her character as a villainous, annoying influencer.
She-Hulk doesn’t actually have a sidekick, but she’s close friends with a number of different superheroes – one of which is Daredevil, another superhero lawyer set to appear in the upcoming Disney+ series.
What is the real life release history of the character?
Jennifer Walters first appeared in the 1980 comic book The Savage She-Hulk (she was, interestingly, the last character Stan Lee created during his early days at Marvel). The character was created as a bit of an intellectual property dispute: there was a fairly popular Hulk television series back then, and Marvel was concerned that the series might introduce a She-Hulk, much like The Six Million Dollar Man had spun. off to the Bionic Woman.
If The Incredible Hulk (1977) had introduced a female equivalent of the Hulk, the character would have belonged to the producers of that show – creating a version in the comics was an attempt to forestall that and to ensure there wasn’t a variation on the idea being one Marvel owners (and could make money from it).
The character has appeared on and off since, at times joining both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. In the late 1980s, writer John Byrne introduced the idea that She-Hulk was aware that she was a fictional character in a comic book, and the character has since been known for breaking the fourth wall. (In the TV series, this is expressed in the form of Fleabag-like remarks to the audience.)
Have you ever tried to do a She Hulk TV show or movie?
A few television projects were in early development in the 1980s (the character never appeared in The Incredible Hulk, after all) before a solo film went into production in 1990. Larry Cohen (Perfect Strangers, A Return to Salem’s Lot) was credited with writing and directing, but ultimately the film never got beyond a few early promotional photos of star Brigitte Nielsen (Red Sonja, Rocky IV).
The upcoming She-Hulk: Attorney at Law series began development in August 2019, with filming pushed back to April 2021 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law launches Thursday, August 18 on Disney+.