Why You Won't See Spider-Man In She-Hulk, Despite The Writers' Love For The Character

Once upon a time, the full extent of crossovers in superhero media amounted to that "This is why Superman works alone" line of dialogue in "Batman & Robin," cheekily alluding to the failed "Superman Lives" movie that was in-development at the time, or that brief reference to Metropolis in "Batman Forever" ... and we liked it that way! Now, the novelty factor has become more like an expectation each and every time out, to the extent that even the official "She-Hulk" Twitter account is leaning into the cameos of it all as a big part of the marketing for the upcoming Disney+ series.

Not only will "She-Hulk" center on Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters and her transition from a normal lawyer to one who tends to get a little green and smashy, but it'll also include supporting appearances by Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner/Professor Hulk, Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky/Abomination, Benedict Wong as the lovable Sorcerer Supreme Wong, and even Charlie Cox's return as Matt Murdock/Daredevil.

Comics fans may be slightly disappointed by the absence of another familiar face who has been known to brush shoulders a time or two with She-Hulk, however: Tom Holland's Peter Parker/Spider-Man. In a new interview with The Direct, creator and head writer Jessica Gao revealed that it wasn't for a lack of trying.

"But I will say, the one MCU character that really bummed out a lot of the writers in our room that we couldn't use was Spider-Man and anyone involved around– like in the Spider-Man universe. Because we had so many Spider-Man fans in the room."

It's tough to imagine Tom Holland's contract allowing for an appearance on a streaming series, but unfortunately this is the reality that sometimes gets in the way of limitless entertainment.

'There were a lot of characters from the comics...'

As sprawling and interconnected as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become, there remains one ever-present reminder that this franchise is subject to the whims of business decisions and rights issues. The partnership between Sony and Marvel has led to a (mostly) amicable arrangement that culminated with the mind-bogglingly successful "Spider-Man: No Way Home." But similar instances have also prevented certain characters from living up to their full big-screen potential, such as the Hulk not receiving a solo film since the 2008 Universal Pictures-produced "The Incredible Hulk" or the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four remaining under the now-defunct 20th Century Fox until the Disney merger. 

"She-Hulk" creator Jennifer Gao alludes to these complications later on in the same interview, explaining why many other potential cameos simply couldn't happen. Some of it has to do with rights complications, but others were scuttled because of Marvel's vague plans for the future.

"There were a lot of characters from the comics -– we wanted a lot of the comics for characters for fun situations where we could bring in a character and think of like funny reasons why they would be in legal trouble. But there were a lot of characters that were from the comics that we couldn't use either because of a rights issue, or there were a few times where it was because Marvel ... all they would say is that they had other plans. And that's all they would tell us. And then, we tried very, very hard to poke, and prod, and get a little bit more information. Of course, they wouldn't tell us."

"She-Hulk" remains just one small piece of a much larger puzzle and will debut on Disney+ Thursday, August 18, 2022.