She-Hulk: Director Kat Coiro Immediately Knew She Wanted To Get Meta In The MCU [Exclusive Interview]

"She-Hulk: Attorney At Law" has ended (for now), and the last Disney+ series in Marvel Studios' Phase 4 line-up certainly didn't disappoint. Setting aside the usual big-picture developments expected of the Marvel Cinematic Universe shows, "She-Hulk" tells a smaller-scale story focusing on the growth of Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany). The nine-episode season showed the journey of Jennifer embracing her newfound powers as a Hulk, offering a different structure and style than the shows that had come before. The series, dubbed a legal comedy, brought a hilarious sense of realism to the greater MCU. The odd and otherworldly clients with everyday problems that She-Hulk represented throughout the season helped to make the massive interconnected world feel a little more human and lived-in.

Moreover, the unexpected trajectory of Jen's story allowed for moments of fourth wall-breaking that made She-Hulk a character that related to the audience with their enjoyment (or frustrations) with the show. That's never better demonstrated than in the season finale, which sees Jennifer Walters take control of her narrative in every sense of the word once things start getting out of hand. "She-Hulk" episode nine is a subversion of expectations unlike any the MCU has seen, addressing story issues in the series and, at times, the greater MCU.

The super meta episode was directed by Kat Coiro, who also directed several other episodes in the series, and I had the opportunity to sit down briefly with Kat Coiro via Zoom to discuss some of the more unexpected moments of the "She-Hulk" finale. From the fourth wall breaks to a surprising artificial intelligence, Coiro was more than happy to discuss the creative decisions behind the mind-blowing conclusion.

'When you have a CGI character, there is no last-minute addition'

My first question for you relates to the cap behind you there in the corner. [In the background on Kat Coiro's desk is a 'K.E.V.I.N. Baseball Cap]

Oh, how's that?

K.E.V.I.N. obviously plays a big part in the "She-Hulk" finale. Was there ever any consideration to have the actual Kevin Feige appear, or was him being a robot always the intention?

I think he was always supposed to be a robot brain, but there was a hope that he would lend his voice to the robot, but that was not something he was interested in. And I think it actually makes a lot more sense as a real robot anyway, because Kevin Feige and K.E.V.I.N. are two different entities.

Despite having an incredibly creative finale, "She-Hulk" still had the important task of introducing Hulk's son. Was that something that was always going to happen in this show?

Yes, and because he appears so quickly, people have wondered if it was a last-minute addition, but when you have a CGI character, there is no last-minute addition. We spent months slaving over his look, and Kevin had a huge hand in that. I can only imagine it's because something big is coming for him down the pipeline.

'It didn't make sense, but that's the whole point.'

She-Hulk's conclusion is unlike any other in the MCU. At what point in the process did you realize the ending of the show was going in such an unexpected direction?

Well, we shot all the episodes together, and we actually started with the finale. One of my favorite stories from production is one of the very first scenes we shot in the lodge with Mark [Ruffalo], Tim [Roth], Jameela [Jamil], Tatiana, Jon [Bass], Ginger [Gonzaga], and Josh [Segarra]. It was so chaotic, and the actors were like, what is going on? I had to tell them it didn't make sense, but that's the whole point. We're creating a finale that doesn't make sense so that she can go and yell at the writers. I was very, very grateful that they trusted me on that journey.

That's great. It was very unexpected and a really pleasant surprise to watch unfold. Daredevil makes an unexpected return in episode nine. Was his obvious chemistry with Jen a factor in his return for the finale?

That was already planned, and we actually filmed that before we filmed their episode together.

Oh, okay. Wow, so it was always the intention, and it worked out in the end, in that case.

We knew that their chemistry was going to be uncharted.

Yeah, it was one of the highlights of the series. People were already expecting Daredevil to be great, but seeing him interact with Jen there, they're like, 'Oh, there's also something here.' It felt like a bonus, unexpected great chemistry between them. What was that like on set?

One of the secrets is that Tatiana and Charlie are the kinds of actors who have good chemistry with everybody. So I think we all felt very confident that they would come together and sparks would fly, which they did. I think one of the added layers of magic to the episode is that our editor, Jamie [Gross], is the world's biggest Daredevil fan. So she edited with so much passion and love for the character, and knew all of his history, and knew all of the Easter eggs. I think you can really feel her work in that episode as well.

Breaking into the real world

Writers are the typical unsung heroes of a production. How fun was it to create a scene where the lead character actually talks to the people writing her dialogue?

It's part of what drew me to the comics originally. The idea of this character yelling at the writers was just so funny, and the idea that she's like, "What are these storylines?" So when I first read the series, the fact that John Byrne was referenced was so exciting to me. Then the fact that we actually get to bring that to its feet, and that we filled the writer's room with real writers from the series, was another little added bonus. There are real writers from the show in that room.

Was that actually the Marvel Studio's office that you filmed in?

It was. That was something I felt very adamant about, because when you break through the Disney+ menu, you're going into the real world. You're leaving the world of the show. So I wanted it to feel as real as possible, hence filling the writer's room with the real writers, hence shooting at the Disney lot. The receptionist is actually the real Marvel receptionist who auditioned for the role and beat out all the actors. Even when we get into the hallway fight with the security guards, that's a direct reference to Black Widow's fight. I just wanted to keep coming back to the real world of Marvel.

"She-Hulk" is streaming now on Disney+.