This post contains spoilers for the first two episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law. If you haven’t seen it yet, dig deeper into our spoiler-free premiere review of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law.
From the debut of Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters to the return of Tim Roth’s Abomination and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, MCU lovers have plenty to get excited about in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. But for the continuity-obsessed fans among us, the series is quickly becoming a treasure trove of answers to long-running MCU mysteries.
From the origin of Bruce Banner’s Smart Hulk personality to a major Captain America puzzle, here’s a breakdown of everything we’ve learned so far. We’ll continue to update this piece as new episodes shed even more light on the post-endgame MCU.
To update: We’ve added three new reveals from Episode 2.
She-Hulk SDCC Trailer
Where has the abomination been since 2008?
The MCU is a well-oiled machine at this point, with numerous movies and series contributing to a larger tapestry of superheroes. But things didn’t always work out so well. There are certain characters and subplots introduced in the early movies that never really paid off, particularly when it comes to 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Episode 2 even throws in a self-conscious nod to the fact that the original Bruce Banner Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo. in future MCU projects.
But more importantly, this episode deals heavily with a character who quietly disappeared from the face of the MCU after The Incredible Hulk. That movie seemed to establish Tim Roth’s Abomination as an enduring threat, but Roth wouldn’t end up reprising his role until his brief cameo in 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The only other mention of Blonsky in the MCU comes in the 2011 short “Marvel One Shot: The Consultant”, which reveals that the World Security Council wanted to recruit Blonsky into the Avengers Initiative (until SHIELD agents Jasper Sitwell and Phil Coulson sabotage that plan). .
She-Hulk finally sheds light on Blonsky’s whereabouts. Turns out he hasn’t been doing much in the 15+ years since his fight with the Hulk. He has been locked up in a high security damage control prison, writing letters to his fans and supposedly finding inner peace. Blonsky is eager to get paroled and start a new life, but his brief fight club fight with Wong may put a damper on those plans. We will certainly learn more about why Wong was training with Blonsky in Macau in future episodes.
Why did the MCU timeline jump forward?
The MCU has always tended to take place in real time, and the passage of time between movie releases is often reflected in the movies themselves. But Avengers: Endgame makes the curious decision to move forward five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Endgame primarily takes place in 2023, despite its 2019 release.
It’s never been entirely clear why the MCU suddenly jumped ahead of the real world. Obviously, Phase 4 has been exploring the long-term impact of half the world’s population being killed in “The Snap” and abruptly returning in “The Blip,” but why separate those two events by five years when one Or would two have been enough?
What makes things more confusing is the fact that the overall timeline for Phase 4 is pretty murky. It’s rarely apparent when the various movies and shows build on each other, and it’s hard to tell exactly how long it’s been since Endgame.
She-Hulk hasn’t definitively solved that mystery as of the first two episodes, but Episode 2 hints at the intent behind the time jump. Here we learn that the series is set very close to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That’s despite the fact that She-Hulk debuted nearly a year after Shang-Chi hit theaters.
The episode ends with footage of Abomination’s cage match with Wong being leaked to the public. We don’t know if that Shang-Chi scene actually took place after Jen’s meeting with Blonsky or if it was leaked after the fact. But even if it’s the latter, it stands to reason that such an eye-catching superhero brawl hasn’t been kept off social media for long.
Based on this connective tissue, it would appear that the MCU is basically locked into a more confined time period during Phase 4. This universe may have advanced several years compared to the real world, but it’s also not progressing as fast as it used to. . Because Phase 4 is so heavily geared towards introducing new characters and laying the groundwork for the larger Multiverse Saga, the goal may specifically be to slow down the passage of time for a while. By the time Phase 4 ends in late 2022, the real world will have almost caught up. That is surely by design.
Does Wolverine exist in the MCU?
We know that Marvel has plans to eventually integrate the X-Men into the MCU, even if they don’t seem to be in any rush to do so. But the various Disney+ shows have gotten that ball rolling, with the introduction of Madripoor in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the implication that Kamala Khan is a mutant in Ms. Marvel. She-Hulk makes a contribution of her own in Episode 2, paying homage to the most eponymous of the X-Men, Wolverine.
No, Wolverine doesn’t appear in person in Episode 2. There’s no indication that Marvel has cast that role yet, despite rumors that Taron Egerton could be in the running. But Logan’s existence in the MCU is confirmed thanks to a news site reporting “Man fights with metal claws in bar fight.”
That quick tease also confirms that Wolverine has already undergone the adamantium bonding procedure in this universe. However, it doesn’t give us any indication as to whether the X-Men also exist or whether Charles Xavier hasn’t yet begun his life’s work. It may be years before those questions are resolved.
How the intelligent Hulk was born
Avengers: Endgame skips a lot of time as it jumps from Thanos’ death in the 2018 era to the snap’s aftermath in 2023. As a result, there’s a lot of character development that we miss out on, particularly when it comes to of Bruce. Banner and his alter ego. When we last saw the Hulk in Infinity War, he’s still a feral monster with a limited vocabulary. But when the Hulk reappears in Endgame, he suddenly speaks with the voice and intelligence of Banner himself.
The first episode of She-Hulk gives us a lot more context on what really happened with the Hulk during those five missing years. While Tony Stark worked in his underground laboratory, Banner had his own remote facility in Mexico that he used to study his condition. Over the course of those five years, Banner used a mixture of scientific experimentation and psychological self-help to merge his two feuding personalities into one. The series even uses the name “Smart Hulk”, originally coined to describe one of the many manifestations of the Hulk in the comics.
At this point, there is no real distinction between Banner and the Hulk. We can understand why he might be a little upset that his cousin achieved the same result effortlessly.
Why is Banner still human sometimes?
The first episode also addresses another lingering question about the Hulk in the post-Endgame MCU. Endgame never gives us any reason to believe that the newly unified Hulk reverts to his human form. He remains in Hulk mode throughout the 2023 portion of the film, even during quieter moments like the restaurant scene and Tony Stark’s funeral. But for some reason, we see the human Bruce Banner during the post-credits scene in Shang-Chi.
She-Hulk reveals that there is a reason. The Hulk has been slowly recovering from the near-fatal effects of wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, and changing into human form has allowed him to heal much faster. We definitely prefer that explanation to “It’s cheaper not to always have to turn Mark Ruffalo into a CGI Hulk.”
The Steve Rogers Virginity Debate
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is definitely Marvel’s most meta project since Deadpool 2, hence all the scenes where Jen Walters breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience. So it stands to reason that this series is the one to finally address one of the biggest ongoing MCU mysteries: is Steve Rogers still a virgin?
As Jen herself points out in the premiere, the movies create the impression that Steve has always been too busy fighting for the good to focus much on his personal life. Nothing in the Avengers movies or Captain America suggests that he ever dated in the 21st century. And despite some helpful hints from Sam Wilson, we can’t imagine a guy like Cap swiping right into Tinder. So does that mean that Steve was still a virgin when he took the Infinity Stones back in time and disappeared?
Assuming you stayed after the credits, you got an answer to that burning question. No, Steve is not a virgin. He hooked up with a nice young lady in 1943 and, as far as we know, has had a healthy sex life ever since.
Interestingly, this is a plot point that Marvel could theoretically develop into a future Captain America project. The Ultimate Comics Avengers comic series revealed that Steve’s girlfriend Gail was secretly pregnant when he was frozen in ice at the end of World War II. After the war, the US government began grooming Gail’s son to become their next great super-soldier. That is, until the kid turned out to be a sociopath that he murdered the handlers of him and slashed his face. Thus the Red Skull of the Ultimate Universe was born.
For more on She-Hulk, check out the 7 She-Hulk Comics You Need To Read First, watch the latest trailer for the upcoming show, and find out what the future holds for Daredevil in the MCU.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Let him lend a machete to your intellectual thicket following @jschedeen on Twitter.
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