Marvel announced an enormous slate of MCU shows and movies at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, including titles from the upcoming Phase 5 and Phase 6. Before that, though, we’re set for the series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and the film Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. First up is She-Hulk on Disney Plus. As with almost every MCU title, the new series will tie into other Marvel properties. So, we’ve compiled a viewing list of what to watch before She-Hulk.
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Read on for our full list of movies and shows to watch before She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, almost all available to stream on Disney Plus. You can also watch She-Hulk when it premieres on Disney Plus on August 18 by hitting the link below.
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What is She-Hulk about?
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows Jennifer Walters. Jennifer is the cousin of Bruce Banner, also known as the Hulk. When she accidentally absorbs Hulk’s blood, Jennifer also takes on some of her cousin’s powers. He then works with her to help her control her new abilities.
Outside of superheroics, Jennifer is a lawyer, and she’s now being tasked with representing clients with superhuman abilities. A Hulk herself, she becomes the face of superpowered legal defense at her firm.
Blending humor, action-adventure, and fourth-wall-breaking self-awareness, She-Hulk is an MCU legal drama that should be full of surprises as the MCU’s Phase 4 comes to an end.
What to watch before She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
The Incredible Hulk (2008)
Perhaps an obvious choice: The Incredible Hulk features the first appearance of the Hulk in the MCU as the second MCU title to come out in 2008 after Iron Man. The Incredible Hulk does feel like the odd man out in the MCU. For one thing, it’s not on Disney Plus because of a rights-sharing agreement with Universal Pictures. Another conspicuous detail is that Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner, a.k.a. the Hulk. In every following MCU title, Bruce is played by Mark Ruffalo. Still, the film is part of the MCU canon. Several characters recur in later films and shows, like General Ross. Notably, we also are first introduced to Tim Roth’s villainous Emil Blonsky (Abomination), who is set to return in She-Hulk, seemingly in a Hannibal Lecter-ish role opposite Jennifer.
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If you have the time, you may like to check out the original The Avengers, as it sets up part of Bruce Banner’s backstory. One important detail is the fact that Bruce controls the Hulk not by repressing his anger but rather by learning to live with it. This may be useful background as he trains Jennifer. In Age of Ultron, though, we really start to see Bruce come into his own, as he grapples with his “monstrosity.” The film as a whole explores the differences between heroes and monsters, and as a lawyer to the superpowered, Jennifer is sure to have to wade into those murky waters at some point. It’s worth revisiting as an underrated MCU title but also as a pivotal point in the Hulk mythos.
Until Thor: Ragnarok, the Hulk was a rather binary superhero. With a few notable exceptions, he alternated between Bruce Banner the man and Hulk the beast. The two states of being were (or seemed) almost entirely separate. We see a slippage in Ragnarok, with Hulk maintaining control of their shared body for longer periods. He develops a personality of his own, but he and Bruce appear to remain aware of each other during trade-offs. While Bruce hadn’t integrated his two personalities yet, the film lays the groundwork for his singular “Professor Hulk” persona in Avengers: Endgame, which we also see in trailers for She-Hulk as he trains his cousin Jennifer to control her own green alter-ego.
The She-Hulk trailer ends with a brief, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance by Daredevil. The live-action character was first introduced as part of a batch of MCU shows on Netflix in 2015, but the rights have since reverted back to Disney. He makes sense in the She-Hulk universe, since Matt Murdock (Daredevil) is also a lawyer. Blinded at a young age, Matt now has lightening-fast reflexes and a kind of radar sense. As a lawyer/superhero, he and Jennifer are well matched. Matt already appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and his nemesis Kingpin appeared in Hawkeye on Disney Plus, so his inclusion in the MCU was already confirmed. We still don’t know for certain if this is a Daredevil from the multiverse or if it’s the hero we know from his Netflix days. She-Hulk may shed some light on that before he gets his own new Disney Plus show in 2024.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
There isn’t a ton of Hulk backstory here, but we do see Bruce struggling to control his Hulk powers. After being trapped in Hulk form for years, as seen in the events of Thor: Ragnarok, he now can’t seem to access Hulk. Or rather, Hulk is resisting him. This is important because it lays the groundwork for Bruce to learn how to work with the beast within, a skill he eventually masters when we see him next in Avengers: Endgame. That’s all great character work leading up to his training with Jennifer in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Avengers: Endgame finally introduces Professor Hulk. It’s been five years since “the snap,” and in that time, Bruce explains that he’s managed to merge his Bruce self with his Hulk self. Now, he has the strength and brain of Hulk with the intelligence of Bruce. That’s the Bruce we seem to be seeing in She-Hulk. Of course, a lot has happened in between. For one, in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law trailers, Bruce’s arm appears healed, which seemed like an impossibility in Endgame. He also spent some time back in human form at some point in there, which brings us to our next title to watch before She-Hulk.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)
There isn’t a ton of overlap between Shang-Chi and She-Hulk as far as we can tell, but there are at least a couple of Easter eggs and teasers worth pointing out. When Shang-Chi has to fight in gladiator matches, we get a brief glimpse of Doctor Strange’s Wong fighting Abomination. Since both Wong and Abomination will appear in She-Hulk, their time in the ring may provide some important (or just fun) backstory. The film’s mid-credit scene also includes Bruce in his human form. With his arm in a sling, we can safely assume we’re seeing Bruce after the events of Avengers: Endgame, but since he suggests he’s permanently merged with his Hulk form in that film and seems to be back in that same Professor Hulk state in She-Hulk, there’s either something fishy going on with the timeline or Bruce has found out how to control his Hulk transformations with even more precision, which may be a useful trick while mentoring Jennifer.
Bonus: Orphan Black (2013-2017)
Strictly speaking, Orphan Black isn’t something you need to watch before She-Hulk, but you might want to anyway. It’s the show that put She-Hulk star Tatiana Maslany on the map, and it’s terrific. In this Canadian sci-fi thriller from Space and BBC America, Maslany plays a woman who finds out she has multiple doppelgängers around the world. The show follows her getting to the bottom of a cloning conspiracy with the help of her look-alikes, forming a found family on the way. Think of it as a fun add-on that you can watch before or after She-Hulk if you’re hooked on Maslany’s acting.
Those are the main titles you’ll want to watch before She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, if you want all the big refreshers.
This being the MCU, though, we may be in for some surprise appearances from other Marvel characters, along with Easter eggs and throwbacks galore.
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