This headline is sort of misleading. I have not written three-hundred blogs about Jennifer Walters the sensational She-Hulk. This is merely my three-hundredth blog on Matt The Catania, whose topic happens to be She-Hulk. I figured I should try a different topic than the best cat in the world for once. It was not my intention to draw attention away from other blogs that have legitimutantly written 300 entries on Shulkie. I apologize for the confusion. This is also an anniversary number (We survived #299!) which doesn’t coincide with an anniversary for the blog.
Hunker down for some wild thoughts on Disney+’s She-Hulk TV series. It’s still kind of timely. Can you believe Marvel & DC almost swapped She-Hulk & Martian Manhunter? Now they’ll both be live action television stars in defiance of David Goyer! All the anxiety I once had over whether Wonder Woman would suck has since been transferred to She-Hulk!
Marvel announced the were looking for “an Alison Brie type” for Jennifer Walters but cast Tatiana Maslany instead. This is unexpected but also great casting. I never considered Maslany a Brie-type, but Orphan Black proved she’s a chameleon. It almost seems like a waste of her Emmy-winning range since Walters & Shulkie are most often the same personality, another reason she’s the superior Hulk. (It’s also a missed opportunity to cast a non-white actress or one with a less typical body type, but thankfully it doesn’t appear to be another Danny Rand fiasco.) Phase IV is looking like a Canadian invasion with her, Simu Liu, & Iman Vellani, yet there’s no Alpha Flight flick planned. Ms. Maslany should get as swole as possible so they can film her She-Hulk scenes with minimal CGI.
Now Maslany says she’s not She-Hulk? Did negotiations fall through at the last second? Is she in it but not as the lead? Did Marvel suddenly decide to make Angie Harmon’s dream come true or give Brigitte Nielsen another shot instead? Possibly her NDA insists she deny everything until Marvel Studios decides to confirm it. So officially Iman Vellani isn’t Ms. Marvel yet (even though she’s begun filming), nor is Oscar Isaac Moon Knight. If Variety & Deadline are wrong about their casting scoops, why hasn’t Marvel issued a statement to that effect? (Because it hasn’t bothered to change Black Widow’s release date on social media either?) Which (virtual) convention is it waiting for to announce its Disney+ leads? Tatiana Maslany is Schrödinger’s She-Hulk.
I wonder if Brie turned down the lead so she could keep her schedule open to finish filming GLOW’s final season, only to have Netflix cancel the series after Maslany’s casting was leaked? That’d be an even bigger dick move by Netflix if true. (She says plans for a wrap-up movie are unlikely to be swift, if at all, if you’d like to be further upset.) This is the first time I recall Marvel Studios referencing a specific thespian in a casting description, one that already has a working relationship with it to boot. Brie (not Larson) voiced Black Widow in the Avengers Academy game (sadly without a Zoya the Destroyah accent) & directed an episode of the Marvel’s 616 documentary series. (Community co-star Gillian Jacobs, who also has the acting chops for She-Hulk, did likewise.)
Maybe Alison Brie can be Titania as a consolation prize? (Betty Gilpin might be a better fit, but then they’d really need to pinky-swear to cast Brie as Screaming Mimi/Songbird when they belatedly get to Thunderbolts. Or perhaps they can subvert her expectations of dying by lycanthrope by genderflipping Werewolf By Night in Moon Knight?) I’d previously suggested Jill Wade as Titania for maximum-meta since her husband, Brian Patrick Wade, was Agents of SHIELD’s Absorbing Man, but that bodybuilder has no acting experience. (Meanwhile Justice League’s Brooke Ence got a modicum of dialogue in Black Lightning…) Will MCU Titania be streamlined into green-skinned Gamma mutate? They probably won’t empower her with another secret cache of Super-Soldier Serum since they already did that for
Doomsday Abomination. The Power Stone is surely off the table. Perhaps she’ll just be an Inhuman? I don’t even know if Titania will be in the show, so this paragraph could be more pointless than the rest! I’m still waiting on her Marvel Legends toy!
Fan art with Becky Lynch as Titania also hit upon Dani Pudi as Rick Jones. This perennial sidekick is insufferable in the comics, but Pudi could make him endearing. The MCU has chugged along perfectly well without Rick Jones, which just shows how superfluous he is. He doesn’t necessarily require special effects, however, so there’s an even chance he’ll pad out her supporting cast. Since the MCU is flagrantly giving actors multiple parts now, they wouldn’t even need to acknowledge his SHIELD employment. Wyatt Wingfoot may also appear but will need to be overhauled to represent First Nations since his Keewazi tribe is fictional.
She-Hulk is strongest one there is because she frequently breaks The Fourth Wall! That was her unique thing before Deadpool. Hopefully Jessica Gao’s scripts will introduce that Post Modern zaniness to the MCU so we can get episodes directed by Rachel Talalay & Lodge 49’s Alethea Jones. (Kat Corio is the only director attached so far, but directors might rotate betwixt episodes like The Mandalorian.) Will her low-key reality-warping be viewed as a sort of schizophrenia by other characters? Perhaps Jen can even directly address the casting confusion to the audience? It’d be a huge mistake to homogenize this into a typical MCU outing by dropping this feature. It wouldn’t necessarily be inaccurate since there have periods where Jen doesn’t do this. (Writers keep making big changes just so I have to add more caveats.) The result would be bland, however, like making a Green Arrow show where he’s inspired more by Mike Grell than Denny O’Neil.
It’s rumored that She-Hulk could be bringing back Sam Sterns as The Leader, Doc Samson, & Betty Ross from The Incredible Hulk movie I didn’t bother watching. Would anyone mind if Betty Ross reverts to Jennifer Connelly not Liv Tyler? Connelly gets extra credit for doing a mini-Die Hard aboard Snowpiercer. (I also prefer Sam Elliot as General Ross, but I guess that moustache ship sailed.) Can whichever pops back into the MCU transform into Harpy? (Now that Betty Ross is Red She-Hulk Harpy, is she more powerful than when she was each separately?)
Mark Ruffalo is up for guest starring. I don’t want Bruce Banner to overshadow Jen. He can just FedEx her his blood for a transfusion. That’d be much more budget friendly! The notion that this could be forced to be a stealth Incredible Hulk sequel (because of weird contractual issues betwixt Disney & Universal) focusing on its supporting cast & loose ends rather than the Gammazon’s own show is troubling.
She-Hulk’s physique is as important as her casting as she’s an archetypal “cheesesteak” (in parlance that hasn’t caught on yet). The worst thing that could happen is a She-Hulk with minimal mass. Since her defining era was when She-Hulk didn’t revert back to Jen, I’d be in favor of the star getting buff & special effects used to amplify her size. (John Byrne’s She-Hulk might not look huge by today’s standards, but she was reflective of 80’s Ms. Olympia contestants & more defined than her initial savage transformation.) Production schedules make that unlikely even before gender double standards kick in. Actresses tend not to get or stay very muscular because it’s a lot of dedication & most projects shun unconventional bodies in major parts, which is why those that already are buff rarely get cast in meaningful roles.
Deepfaking the lead’s head onto a professional athlete’s body is possible yet shortsighted. Since She-Hulk’s physique’s will likely be all mo-capped CGI independent of an actress’s physical limits, however, why not make her as monstrously massive as her cousin? It took comic book artists way too long to realize this even though they had less logistics to consider. Of course the more recent humongous She-Hulk has been criticized by a vocal subset that now think she’s hideous. (If you want She-Hulk minus her mandatory muscles, might I suggest DC’s underrated Jade instead?) A superb design can make this Gamma Bombshell look simultaneously gorgeous & superhumanly powerful. I worry Marvel will deliver a disappointingly slender Shulkie which will still get attacked for being unfeminine. (Gamora is already the MCU’s slim green strongwoman.) Hopefully it’ll at least have the budget to alter the star’s pigmentation, unlike Kilgrave.
If I had my druthers, Jen Walters would’ve already been a member of the cinematic Avengers. It vexes me that her more famous cousin was a founding member of the movie team when he temper tantrumed off in the comics’ second issue. He’s a non-essential liability that’s more trouble than he’s worth! (Imagine the Avengers facing a threat more engaging than their own dysfunctionality! That’s a bug not a feature.) On the other paw, She-Hulk is a great Avenger since she (most often) retains Jen’s intellect. She was even quippy before the movies made that the team’s default mode of communication! Of course Bruce Banner has usurped her as the team player Hulk by getting his psyche integrated between movies for minimum drama. She-Hulk’s strength increases proportionately with Jennifer’s (during the period when she transformed back & forth), so she can still be a role model for self-improvement even if she received her powers accidentally. Maybe they can represent this by having She-Hulk become more ripped with each transformation? (A variety of forms evoking different comics periods might please most fans part of the time.) Contrariwise the vague “madder Hulk gets, stronger Hulk gets” is a toxic masculinity cheat code. She can also dress herself without thinking she’s mob enforcer with an ironic name. Ms. Walters, Esq is a better lawyer than Daredevil too!
Originally this wasn’t going to be its own article. I was surprised yet positive about Maslany-Hulk, so I didn’t have much to say. I was just going to drop a few sentences into my next miscellaneous Marvel post. As that drifted on the back burner, the interview with Maslany denying she’d gotten the role happened. I didn’t want to jump the gun commenting on that until Marvel weighed in. It hasn’t. The longer it doesn’t address the situation the weirder it gets. Now it’s this strange liminal space where it’s both a developing story & old news. I keep expecting an official casting announcement to happen just as I publish it, rendering the entire endeavor moot. I went to the trouble of tinting some photos green, so I’m gonna run this anyway! MOOHAHAHA!!!!
Thank you for reading my Jade Giantess speculation. With luck, her series will be a knockout on multiple levels just like She-Hulk. An extra special thanks to all the readers who supported this blog way back when it was was trying to launch The Dolorous Adventure Of Brother Banenose. Hopefully some of you will still be around when I use it to promote my eventual second novel. See you at blog #301! (It’s much more likely than blog #600.)