She-Hulk Head Writer Jessica Gao Sticks By Her Decision To Stray Off The MCU Path

Spoilers for "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" follow.

From its first episode, "She-Hulk" presented itself as something different in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I know what you're thinking: every new MCU project purports to be the one that's going to shake things up. "She-Hulk" may not alter much outside of Jennifer Walters' (Tatiana Maslany) world, but that's part of what makes it so great.

The stakes are low for an MCU outing to be sure, but the personal stakes for Jen are quite high. She needs to balance the monster within, her career, and perhaps the most difficult piece of the puzzle: modern romance. Seriously, Intelligencia or even K.E.V.I.N. have nothing on navigating the perilous waters of online dating.

Complaints of the MCU sticking to its formula have been prevalent throughout much of Phase Four. Even "WandaVision," which broke the mold for most of its run, was shoved right back into its MCU packaging for part of the finale. I loved the show and found it to have a satisfying conclusion, but there's no doubt that in the end, Marvel felt the series would be incomplete without an overblown CGI smackdown.

"She-Hulk" has been as self-aware as its titular star, taking aim not only at its worst critics but also at the very universe in which it exists. "Whose Show Is This?" delivered on the promise the series has been building towards from the beginning. Jen didn't need to Hulk Smash her way through some lackluster villains. What she really needed to fully smash was that fourth wall — though she'd already done some other very vital smashing.

The finale was not only comics accurate, but also pretty awesome. Fans may be a bit divided, but head writer Jessica Gao feels happy with the way things have turned out.

Time for a rewrite

The finale saw Jen desperately trying to hold it together as her life crumbled around her. When the inevitable MCU spectacle began seemingly out of nowhere, Jen wasn't having any of it, leading to the show's hilarious Disney+ gag, as well as a completely rewritten ending to her story. During an interview for Marvel's official blog, Gao spoke about her feelings on the finale. She said:

"This feels right for this show. This is not the right ending for every show, but this is the right ending for this show. We could not have been more clear about what this show is. From day one, we've been very upfront and honest about what kind of show this is, what the expectations for the show will be. And for some reason, people love to not believe that...even though we've been telling them for months now that this is what the show is going to be."

As much as fans complain about the Marvel formula, there are always those that are unhappy when the studio actually deviates from it. Gao is absolutely right that "She-Hulk" has been clear about what kind of show it was from the beginning and this unexpected ending really was the perfect way to wrap things up. Listen, I love MCU movies. There's a whole lot about that formula that obviously works really well, but it has been feeling a bit stagnant of late and it's good to see projects like "Werewolf By Night" and "She-Hulk" breathing some new life into this universe.

We all have unpleasant plot twists in our own lives and it was incredibly gratifying to see Jen take control of her story. If only rewrites were that easy for the rest of us.