This post contains spoilers for the first two episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law. If you haven’t watched yet, dive into our spoiler-free first She-Hulk: Attorney At Law review!
From the debut of Tatiana Maslany’s Jennifer Walters to the return of Tim Roth’s Abomination and Charlie Cox’s Daredevil, MCU fans have plenty to get excited about She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. But for the continuity-obsessed fans among us, the series is quickly becoming a treasure trove of answers to longstanding MCU mysteries.
From the origin of Bruce Banner’s Smart Hulk character to one big Captain America riddle, 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.
Update: we’ve added three new reveals from Episode 2.
She-Hulk SDCC Trailer
Where has the abomination gone since 2008?
The MCU is a well-oiled machine at this point, with plenty of movies and series all contributing to a greater superhero tapestry. But things haven’t always worked out so well. Some characters and subplots introduced in the early films never really paid off, especially when it came to 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Episode 2 even throws a conscious nod to the fact that the original Bruce Banner Edward Norton has been replaced by Mark Ruffalo in future MCU projects.
But more importantly, this episode is largely about a character who quietly disappeared from the face of the MCU after The Incredible Hulk. This movie seemed to make Tim Roth’s Abomination a lasting threat, but Roth wouldn’t end up reprising his role until his brief appearance in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in 2021. The only other mention of Blonsky in the MCU is found in the 2011 short film “Marvel One Shot: The Consultant”, which reveals that the World Security Council wanted to recruit Blonsky for the Avengers Initiative (until SHIELD agents Jasper Sitwell and Phil Coulson sabotaged this plan ) .
She-Hulk finally sheds some light on Blonsky’s whereabouts. Turns out he hasn’t done much in over 15 years since his fight with the Hulk. He was locked up in a Damage Control high-security prison, writing letters to his adoring fans and supposedly finding inner peace. Blonsky is eager to get parole and start a new life, but his brief fight club brawl with Wong may put a damper on those plans. No doubt we’ll learn more about why Wong fought with Blonsky in Macau in future episodes.
Why has the MCU timeline moved forward?
The MCU has always tended to unfold in real time, with the time between movie releases often being reflected in the movies themselves. But Avengers: Endgame makes the curious decision to jump ahead five years after the events of Avengers: Infinity War. Endgame is mostly set in 2023, despite being released in 2019.
It’s never been entirely clear why the MCU suddenly got a leg up on the real world. Obviously, Phase 4 explored the long-term impact of having half the world’s population killed in “The Snap” and abruptly returned in “The Blip,” but why separate those two five-year events when one or two would have been enough?
The fact that the overall schedule for Phase 4 is quite murky makes things more confusing. It’s rarely obvious how the various movies and shows fit in relation to each other, and it’s hard to tell exactly how much time has passed since Endgame.
She-Hulk hasn’t definitively solved this 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 close to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This is despite the fact that She-Hulk debuted almost a year after Shang-Chi hit theaters.
The episode ends with footage from the Abomination’s cage match with Wong being leaked to the public. We don’t know if this Shang-Chi scene actually took place after Jen met Blonsky or if it leaked after the fact. But even if it’s the latter, it stands to reason that such a flashy superhero brawl wouldn’t have stayed off social media for long.
Based on this connective tissue, it would seem that the MCU is basically locked into a more confined period of time during Phase 4. This universe may have jumped several years from the real world, but it is not progressing not as quickly as before. . Since Phase 4 is so heavily focused on introducing new characters and setting up the bigger multiverse saga, the goal may be specifically to slow down the passage of time for a while. By the time Phase 4 is complete in late 2022, the real world will have almost caught up. It’s probably by design.
Does Wolverine exist in the MCU?
We know that Marvel has plans to bring the X-Men into the MCU eventually, though they don’t seem particularly eager to do so. But the various Disney+ shows started this 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 her own contribution in Episode 2, paying homage to the most eponymous X-Men, Wolverine.
No, Wolverine doesn’t appear in the flesh in Episode 2. There’s no indication that Marvel has played that role yet, despite rumors that Taron Egerton might 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 Brawl.”
This quick match also confirms that Wolverine has already undergone the adamantium bonding procedure in this universe. However, that doesn’t give us any clue as to whether the X-Men also exist, or if Charles Xavier has yet to begin his life’s work. It may still be years before these issues are resolved.
How Smart Hulk Was Born
Avengers: Endgame skips a lot of the time as it moves from 2018-era Thanos’ death to the aftermath of the Snap in 2023. There’s a lot of character development we miss as a result, especially in regarding Bruce Banner and his alter ego. When we last saw the Hulk in Infinity War, he’s still a savage 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 about what really happened with the Hulk during those five missing years. Even as Tony Stark tinkered in his underground lab, Banner had his own remote facility in Mexico which he used to study his condition. During those five years, Banner used a mix of scientific experimentation and psychological self-help to merge his two warring personalities into one. The series even uses the name “Smart Hulk”, originally coined to describe one of the many Hulk manifestations in the comics.
At this point, there really isn’t a distinction between Banner and Hulk. We can understand why he may be a little miffed that his cousin got the same result so easily.
Why is Banner still human sometimes?
The first episode also tackles another lingering question regarding the Hulk in the post-Endgame MCU. Endgame never gives us any reason to believe that the newly unified Hulk returns to human form. He remains in Hulk mode throughout the 2023 portion of the film, even during quieter moments like the dinner 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 there is a reason. The Hulk slowly recovered from the near-fatal effects of wielding the Infinity Gauntlet, and shifting into human form allowed him to heal much faster. We definitely prefer this explanation to “It’s cheaper not to always have to turn Mark Ruffalo into the CGI Hulk.”
The Steve Rogers Virginity Debate
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is definitely the most meta Marvel project since Deadpool 2, hence all the scenes where Jen Walters breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the audience. So it’s only fitting that this series is the one that finally tackles one of the biggest mysteries in the ongoing MCU – is Steve Rogers still a virgin?
As Jen herself points out at the premiere, the films feel like Steve has always been too busy fighting the good fight to focus more on his personal life. Nothing in the Avengers or Captain America movies suggests he ever had time to date in the 21st century. And despite some helpful advice from Sam Wilson, we can’t imagine a guy like Cap ever swiping right on Tinder. Does that mean Steve was still a virgin when he took the Infinity Stones back in time and disappeared?
Assuming you stick around past the credits, you’ve got that burning question answered. No, Steve is not a virgin. He met a nice young woman in 1943, and as far as we know, he’s had a healthy sex life ever since.
Interestingly, this is a plot point that Marvel could theoretically build on in a future Captain America project. The Ultimate Comics Avengers comic book 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 training Gail’s son to be their next great super-soldier. That is, until the boy turns out to be a sociopath who slaughtered his masters and carved his face. Thus, the Red Skull of the Ultimate Universe was born.
For more on She-Hulk, check out the 7 must-see She-Hulk comics you should read first, watch the latest teaser for the upcoming show, and find out what the future holds for Daredevil in the MCU.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by follow @jschedeen on Twitter.
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