There’s a running joke all throughout She-Hulk: Attorney at Law’s premiere episode that’s hard to imagine Marvel Studios would have been comfortable making a few years ago before “America’s Ass” became a thing. But according to She-Hulk’s creator and head writer Jessica Gao, the joke — which punctuates the first of the series’ weekly post-credits stingers — reflects the exact sort of wild new energy Marvel head Kevin Feige challenged her to bring to the series.
This post contains spoilers for the first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
Like many people, She-Hulk’s Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) is a fan of Steve Rogers who spends a considerable amount of time thinking about whether or not the centenarian ever had sex. Initially seems like Jen’s thirst and concern about Rogers’ virginity might simply be a gag that She-Hulk means to revisit over the course of the season after she first brings it up. But after coaxing her cousin Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) into drinking enough liquor to get a Hulk buzzed (and feigning her own inebriation) in the premiere’s post-credits scene, Jen pulls it out of him that Captain America definitely got laid in 1943.
In a recent interview on Empire Magazine’s film podcast, Gao opened up about the joke and how the studio’s top brass were particularly keen on “pushing the boundaries” of the MCU with She-Hulk. Because the MCU’s gotten so big and creators have been able to use it to explore such a broad array of narratives and styles, Gao said, Feige challenged her to “explore new territory because they have kind of well-trodden territories and now it’s time to find something new.”
“There were so many points where I thought I have to kind of stay within the boundaries or what I imagine the boundaries were for Marvel,” Gao said. “And he would tell me, “No, no, no, go further. Push it further. Why don’t we try this? Why don’t we go out outside the box?’”
According to Gao, she was given carte blanche essentially from the jump and told that no matter how outlandish an idea might be, chances were likely that Feige would be into it if it was a genuinely good one. More than simply liking the idea, though, Gao said Feige himself approved it and the details Bruce tells Jen about how Steve lost his virginity on a USO tour.
“These are the things that real people want answers to,” Gao said. “We want to know if Steve Rogers gets out there — if he’s out in these streets — because that man is way too attractive to have gone through life, and served his country, and not have gotten some.”