Tatiana Maslany in a scene from
Tatiana Maslany in a scene from "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" Image Credit: Disney+ via AP

Hulking out hasn’t been all it could be during the past couple decades onscreen, but that’s all about to change with the debut of “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” on Disney+.

Eric Bana played the title role in Ang Lee’s 2003 film “Hulk,” which got mixed reviews — before the Marvel Cinematic Universe started and the role was passed to Ed Norton in 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk.”

In the infancy of the MCU, the Hulk was expected to be a major player. But after reportedly experiencing creative differences with Norton, Marvel Studios recast the role with Mark Ruffalo. His Hulk/Bruce Banner was relegated to guest appearances in Avengers movies, while Iron Man and Captain America racked up three solo films and Thor got four.

Why no solo Hulk movies? The rights to the character are still tied up in very dramatic red tape over at Universal, and Ruffalo has gone on the record saying the movie studio isn’t interested in collaborating with Marvel Studios the way Sony has shared Spider-Man.

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Tatiana Maslany and Mark Ruffalo. Image Credit: AFP

Which brings us to “She-Hulk.” The new Marvel Studios franchise will have a lot more gamma-radiated flexibility to do as it pleases with its jolly green giant and, you guessed it, will also feature a guest appearance from Ruffalo’s Hulk.

Here are six things to know before watching “She-Hulk”.

She-Hulk is the alter ego of a lawyer who is Bruce Banner’s cousin

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Hulk and She-Hulk. Image Credit: Marvel Studios

The series stars Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters, a Los Angeles-based lawyer. A fateful and unplanned transfer of blood between her and her cousin, Banner, after an accident causes Walters to also transform into a much larger, super-strong, green version of herself.

She began at Marvel Comics but with a television twist

She-Hulk made her Marvel Comics debut in 1980, appearing in “The Savage She-Hulk” No 1. The character was created by Stan Lee and John Buscema in part because of the popularity of the CBS “The Incredible Hulk” series starring Bill Bixby. Marvel Comics worried that CBS and Universal would create a female version of the Hulk character and that the publisher wouldn’t own the rights — so it created its own. She-Hulk’s origin story in the comics varies slightly from in the TV series but does involve plenty of Hulk blood.

She-Hulk is more in control of herself than the Hulk is

The MCU’s Hulk is currently a smart Hulk. Bruce Banner has found a way to combine his brilliant scientific mind with the Hulk’s superhuman strength — we see him as very much still Bruce Banner even though he is big and green. There’s no going back to being a “puny human,” other than in the series’ pilot episode while he recuperates from an injury. That’s a stark contrast from the Hulk’s original days of switching from Banner to an uncontrollable monster that he tries to keep inside.

She-Hulk still changes from Walters to her green Hulk self and back again, but not only loses none of her intelligence or humanity when she does it, she can control on demand when it happens. The original Hulk was a constant threat to society. She-Hulk is an instant social media celebrity and a superhero sex symbol. Walters will wrestle with a public that has high demand for her green persona and will wonder whether her true self can ever compete.

She likes to talk to the audience

There have been many comic book iterations over the years of She-Hulk breaking the fourth wall and talking to her readers, and she’ll do the same with the audience in the new series — producing some of its funnier moments.

She’s not an Avenger now, but membership seems likely

In the comics she’s been an Avenger and a member of the Fantastic Four. In “She-Hulk” she is gifted with superpowers but has no interest in giving up the “normal” parts of her life to become a superhero on demand, which the Avengers have to do. That includes dating, hanging out with friends and continuing to be a lawyer.

But this is the MCU. And last month Marvel Studios revealed at San Diego Comic Con that two Avengers movies — “Avengers: The Kang Dynasty” and “Avengers: Secret Wars” — will arrive in theatres in 2025. “Secret Wars,” if even remotely based on the multiple comic book events of the same name, will be an all-hands-on-deck event. If ever there were an Avengers movie for the She-Hulk, it would be that one. But for now, she’s a solo Hulk.

Watching “The Incredible Hulk” with Ed Norton isn’t necessary but helps

You don’t have to watch what is probably the final solo Incredible Hulk movie in our lifetimes to understand what is going on in “She-Hulk,” but events from that movie are referenced. Walters’s first super-powered client is none other than Emil Blonsky/The Abomination, played by Tim Roth, resuming his role as the villain (or is he reformed?). If you’d like to do a deep dive into how Blonsky becomes the Abomination and watch him transform into a monster that can get into a fist-fight with the original MCU Hulk, then it would be worth a watch.


Tatiana Maslany’s journey to the role

Jennifer Barretto, Assistant Editor - Features

In a global press conference for ‘She-Hulk’, producer Jessica Gao said Tatiana Maslany was the perfect fit for the role. The actress gained prominence in the 2013 thriller series ‘Orphan Black’, where she expertly played multiple human clones with wildly different personalities.

Gao said about Maslany as She-Hulk: “There is nobody else. There was really no other discussion. And, you know, from her previous work, we knew that she had a range and could embody so many elements of the human experience. And what’s so interesting and different about Jennifer is that as Tatiana said, she maintains her sense of self and yet her sense of self is influenced by the way she presents when she changes, it’s a different way of walking through the world. And so it required a nuance of performance that really only Tatiana could give.”

For Maslany, she felt drawn to playing the role of She-Hulk because it wasn’t just about being a superhero. She says she enjoyed the reliability of a character who was navigating a big change while also trying to be as normal as possible.

“It was actually [Jennifer Walters’] conflict with it that I found most interesting... like her resistance to it. She’s built this life for herself that she does not wanna let go of, she’s worked so hard to be a lawyer and she has to constantly prove herself,” Maslany said. “So she’s in this path. And then when this thing happens to her, she has to contend with a whole other perception being placed on top of her and expectations societally of like how she should be and who she should be.”

The actress added: “And so to navigate those two versions — like the outside perception of her — that to me was super interesting. And honestly, when I read the pilot, I want so badly to audition for this because it’s so funny and it’s so mundane and small, you know. In a way that I’ve always dreamed of watching a superhero show that had that the between moments, the moments where you’re like checking your phone, whatever. That to me is engaging cinema that I like.”

Don’t miss it!

‘She-Hulk’ is streaming now on Disney+.