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[This story contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law season one.]
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law director-EP Kat Coiro admits she was apprehensive about the Disney+ series’ jabs at Marvel in the season one finale, but Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige quickly put her fears to rest. In episode nine, “Whose Show Is This?” Jen Walters/She-Hulk smashed the fourth wall and used the Disney+ interface to eventually confront a Feige-inspired AI named K.E.V.I.N. inside Marvel Studios. From there, Jen discussed her dissatisfaction with the show’s ending and how it was too similar to most Marvel conclusions.
Coiro believes that the finale represents some of the studio’s greatest strengths including attentiveness and the ability to not take itself too seriously.
“I was ironically the most squeamish about the whole finale. And the idea that we were throwing Marvel projects under the bus, it was really Kevin, Victoria [Alonso], Lou [D’Esposito] and Brad [Winderbaum] who were like, ‘No, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it,’” Coiro tells The Hollywood Reporter. “So I think it speaks to their genius and their ability to be self-deprecating and not be precious. They know what people are saying; they pay attention.”
In a recent conversation with THR, Coiro also explains why the timing of the Disney+ menu gag had to be just right.
So I previously asked you if you received the Wonka tour during your early talks with Marvel, and you replied that the show’s meta nature allowed you to explore the “backlot of Marvel, if you will.” Well, now I know what you meant. So how did you approach bringing such a wild conceit to life?
(Laughs.) I love putting little Easter eggs in interviews. That’s fun. Actually shooting at the Disney lot was very important to me because we have a character who lives in a world where she knows she’s on a television show. And so when she breaks through the fourth wall, she’s essentially stepping into reality. So we shot in a different aspect ratio, and we slightly altered our shooting style to be a little more handheld. And because I really wanted us to be on the real Disney lot, the receptionist [Matt Wilkie] is the real receptionist who works at Marvel. We made him audition with a bunch of actors, and he got the role. So really leaning into reality was essential for making that whole crazy concept work. As crazy and weird as it is, it is realistic.
Was securing the Disney+ menu quite a process?
From the beginning, that was our plan, but I’m sure there was a lot of negotiating in emails that I luckily wasn’t on. From my point of view, what was really important was finding the timing of it. I wanted to make sure that it was timed so that people thought there was a mistake, but not timed so that they turned off the show. And I think it really worked. Based on the reactions I’ve seen, it seems like people really did get tricked for a second, but the show was back before they had a chance to reach for their remote.
Were you impressed that Kevin Feige and co. were so willing to entertain not only an AI Kevin Feige, but also a number of the audience’s critiques and questions about the MCU?
I was ironically the most squeamish about the whole finale. And the idea that we were throwing Marvel projects under the bus, it was really Kevin, Victoria [Alonso], Lou [D’Esposito] and Brad [Winderbaum] who were like, “No, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it.” So I think it speaks to their genius and their ability to be self-deprecating and not be precious. But the most interesting thing to me is that it speaks to their connection to the audience. They know what people are saying; they pay attention. And I think it’s why Marvel has been as successful as it is. They listen.
You told me previously that you knew the show would work based on Tatiana and Mark’s chemistry. Did Tatiana and Charlie’s chemistry also reaffirm that notion for the conclusion of the season?
I mean, Tatiana has good chemistry with everybody, but her and Charlie are very different from her and Mark, which felt very much like brother and sister. So I thought their chemistry was electric. We also got a lot of help in that episode from our editor Jamie [Gross], who is the world’s biggest Daredevil fan. She is kind of in love with Daredevil and really added an extra layer of magic to the episode, because of her deep appreciation for that character and for the ability to see those two characters in a romantic setting.
In episode eight, you played Matt’s Daredevil theme song, you recreated some of his moves, and you also paid homage to his past hallway fight sequences. So is it the same guy just on a new trajectory?
(Laughs.) I will neither confirm nor deny. I leave that to Kevin, but I will say that my cinematographer and I paid great attention to [Daredevil’s] hallway fights because they’re such an iconic part of the Daredevil that everybody loves. However it plays out in the long run, we had to honor where the character is coming from. It’s funny, there’s so much talk about the color of the suit, and to me, that’s the genius of introducing a character like the tailor [Griffin Matthews’ Luke Jacobson] because then you see that this is a human being who has to order his super suit. So there can be many variations of that suit, and while the ketchup and mustard pays respects to the comics, there could be other suits moving forward because now we’ve got a tailor to make them.
So did you and Charlie Cox enjoy capturing Matt’s Walk of Shame?
That was one of my favorite things to film. We tried so many different variations and what ended up playing the best was the most simple version. It’s just him walking, holding part of the costume. It tells the story without much embellishment, which I love.
For the loose threads like Hulk’s son, Skaar, and Blonsky and Wong, do you have some idea of what the plans are for them?
Only Kevin knows. We always had the information we needed to make our story work, but there’s definitely a whole other universe coming that we had to be mindful of and honor. When you see Skaar introduced, it was always just a hint that it’s part of a story that is not necessarily our story, but it still plays nicely into that barbecue scene.
She-Hulk is now available on Disney+. This interview was edited for length and clarity.
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