She-Hulk director reveals the one thing Kevin Feige refused to do
Kat Coiro specifies breaking the fourth wall isn’t talking to the camera, but talking to the fans.
Kat Coiro saw She-Hulk as doing more than just talking to the camera.
In the aftermath of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, the series director has a firm grasp on what makes Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) different in her self-awareness as a lead protagonist. Coiro says Jennifer’s presence in an always-expanding universe with a rabid fanbase affords her certain dimensionality that lets her stand in contrast to Marvel’s towering superhero icons.
“Breaking the fourth wall, besides being intrinsically tied to the comics, is this connection to the audience.”
“I roll back to what drew me to the MCU originally. I think the MCU is so unique in that it has a direct connection to the audience,” Coiro tells Inverse. “For me breaking the fourth wall, besides being intrinsically tied to the comics, is this connection to the audience. That is really exciting for me.”
In a post-finale conversation with Inverse, She-Hulk director Kat Coiro spills some new secrets behind Season 1’s wild finish, and what She-Hulk may have revealed about the future of the MCU. Spoilers ahead!
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Inverse: In hindsight, what was the most appealing thing about breaking the fourth wall in She-Hulk?
Coiro: Over the years, I feel like the studio has really listened to fans, and their material evolves based on what the audience wants. This connection to the audience is really exciting for me. I talked with Tatiana while we were filming about developing a relationship. It’s not talking to the camera. It’s literally talking to the audience. Marvel fans are connected to their characters in a way no other fans are. So it was always for me this exciting way of connecting to the audience.
Was not breaking the fourth wall ever considered for the show?
No. It was always part of the story. The story always culminated in her going to the writer’s room, which comes from [She-Hulk comics writer] John Byrne. That being said, there were different explorations of how it would happen. There was a version we did early on where it was kind of “editor’s notes,” and she would interact with them rather than with the camera. But we wanted that connection to the audience, so we ultimately just went straight to camera.
Were there any parameters from Marvel’s higher-ups about satirizing the studio?
There was nothing off-limits. When the writers had [written], you know, “Marvel movies end the same way,” I’m like, “Wait, I like how the Marvel movies end. We don’t have to make fun of that, do we?” Yet there is something so unique about Jennifer Walters’ story in that it really is about the behind-the-scenes and the everyday. It’s not so much making fun of Marvel movies but saying we want to do something different. We end the series on a barbecue.
“[Marvel’s] so self-deprecating and game to poke fun at themselves. I think because they’re so connected to the fanbase.”
It’s funny, I was the one who was most nervous about putting down the studio and making these jokes that put down the movies and the fans. I was shocked. One of my jobs as a director is always to just bring up the questions. I would say, “Have we gone too far? Are we insulting you guys too much? Are we insulting the fans too much?” It was [Marvel Studios president] Kevin [Feige] who was like, “It’s fine!” They’re so self-deprecating and game to poke fun at themselves. I think because they’re so connected to the fanbase.
Was Kevin ever considered to play the role of K.E.V.I.N.?
We did ask Kevin to play the role, and he did not want to. He wanted to have that separation between the bot and himself.
After the finale aired, fans and critics compared K.E.V.I.N. to GlaDOS, the villain of the video game Portal. Were any comparisons or references drawn in the writer’s room?
I wasn’t a part of the conversations about all the references, but the writers are so well-versed, I’m sure that everything people point out and think is a coincidence has probably been discussed by those guys.
“I like to be large and in charge, and embrace that side of myself.”
Going back to Episode 8, which featured Charlie Cox reprising his Daredevil, you include a hallway fight just as his Netflix series did. Given that it’s your first time handling action on camera, how did you adjust to that new discipline?
Episode 8 was so fun because it was the biggest action episode of the season. And in a season that really is about the day-to-day, I wanted that episode to feel different and high-octane, and to feel like part of the MCU tradition of action. My cinematographer and I studied all the [Netflix] hallway fights and the lighting and the action. We really drew from what had come before because I think it's been so well-done in the past. I think we pulled it off. I'm really happy about it.
She-Hulk has been a show about breaking rules. How has directing She-Hulk taught Kat Coiro to do the same?
I don’t like to use the word “female” director. That was reinforced by the show. When we talk about the “Female Lawyer of the Year,” there’s something so insulting about that. She’s a lawyer. I’m a director. When I talk to press, I’m like, “Don’t use female director.” Just use “director.” But as a director who is a woman, I feel like I don’t want to take up too much space. And there’s something about having worked on She-Hulk where I’m now not afraid of that. I like to be large and in charge, and embrace that side of myself.
Now that She-Hulk has broken the fourth wall and openly addressed Marvel’s shortcomings, can fans expect new Marvel movies to feel different?
I think there’s a different Marvel every couple of years. She-Hulk is one part of the evolution.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is streaming now on Disney+.