She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has the distinct honor of being the first Marvel Cinematic Universe series to be acutely aware of its own existence. From Jennifer Walters’ first training montage with Bruce, she knew she was being watched as part of one of the largest franchises in the world. For the most part, she went along with it, informing viewers what kind of show it was going to be and explaining her (often questionable) decisions.
But this entire conceit was brought full circle when She-Hulk’s story goes so off the rails she has to take things to the top — Kevin Feige. Or, at least, an approximation of Kevin Feige.
Massive spoilers ahead for the She-Hulk finale.
She-Hulk ending explained
Once she realizes her season finale is going off the rails with a Super Soldier Serum-inspired plotline, a deus ex machina Bruce, and a random appearance from Titania, Jen decides to take matters into her own hands and confront the “person” in charge.
After escaping the confines of her own show and leaping through the Disney+ home screen into a behind-the-scenes Marvel featurette, She-Hulk confronts her own writers’ room, including actual showrunner Jessica Gao. They say they’re just doing what Kevin wants (or, if you have closed captions turned on, what “K.E.V.I.N.” wants). Gao even goes so far as to say, “K.E.V.I.N.’s value is immeasurable. I would murder you to protect K.E.V.I.N.”
Jen, of course, takes that as a personal challenge and marches straight into the inner sanctum, a huge chamber lined with TV screens playing Marvel clips. From the ceiling descends a robot that looks straight out of a Portal game who introduces himself as “K.E.V.I.N: Knowledge Enhanced Visual Interconnectivity Nexus.”
The design of K.E.V.I.N. even includes a little visor, akin to the black baseball cap the Marvel Studios president has made his trademark. Jessica Gao told Marvel.com that this element was actually difficult to get approval for from the man himself:
“I said, ‘That's the part that doesn't make sense to you, Kevin, that is the line of logic that you won't cross, we have you represented as an AI brain that is controlling all of the Marvel Cinematic Universes, but the thing that you can't get past is that it might have a hat on top of the machine?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’”
Aside from that, it seems like he was a good sport about the whole thing.
The entire scene is a great example not only of She-Hulk’s fourth-wall-breaking powers but of Marvel Studios itself being self-aware. The execs at the company know there is an air of same-ness and focus-grouped likability across the franchise. And when Jen suggests a cameo from Matt Murdock because “a woman has needs,” K.E.V.I.N. responds, “Historically, we’ve been light in that department.”
Gao also revealed the NDA signing scene before Jen confronts the boss includes a real-world reference as well:
“Matt Wilkie, who plays the receptionist is, or at the time was, the receptionist at Marvel. My hope — and he's since been promoted which I'll hold against him forever because it ruins my dream, which was that somebody would watch the show and then have a meeting at Marvel Studios and then go to that actual lobby, see Matt Wilkie and sign the NDA.”
It’s unlikely we’ll see K.E.V.I.N again — he even says the glitch that allowed her to shut off her inhibitor will be fixed — but it’s comforting to know the Marvel Cinematic Universe is canon within the MCU itself. There’s no telling what the Marvel creative team can do with this information, especially considering there’s an MCU-canonical Deadpool movie in the works.
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is now streaming on Disney+.