She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has been taking a delightful approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, advancing the stories of some franchise veterans and newbies in unexpected detail. One of the most buzzed-about character arcs on the series has been that of Emil Blonsky / Abomination (Tim Roth), who has seemingly reformed since his villainous days in The Incredible Hulk. This week's episode showcased Blonsky's life after being released from prison, with him leading a wellness retreat attended by a ragtag group of villains. In a new interview with Marvel.com, the cast and crew of She-Hulk dive into how that retreat came to be — beginning with the script from staff writer (and fan-favorite comic writer) Zeb Wells.
"He's been a lifelong Marvel fan, and he and another writer Cody Zigler were the two comics encyclopedias in the room," head writer Jessica Gao explained in the interview. "This was Zeb's episode and we had pitched out this whole story of basically what Blonsky's retreat would be like and how it was kind of a rehabilitation center, like a retreat and therapy circle for a lot of these guys who were former villains, but not like well known. Kind of just street-level wannabe villains who, even in this world, we're kind of being pulled from the depths of obscurity."
"We wanted weirdo characters, we wanted ones that were distinctive looking and also had kind of enough of a strange theme to them that they would be like a fun mix. It was this kind of organized chaos in the therapy circle," Gao continued, before adding that one character always remained on the lineup for the retreat. "Porcupine was always Porcupine. Everyone was excited about this guy. We saw what he looked like in the comics and we were like, absolutely, we need that guy sitting in the room."
"We had such a great group of actors," Gao added. "You really feel like these guys have spent some time working on themselves, they have bonded with each other, and you really get the sense that they're so earnestly trying to use the new emotional tools that they've learned and are trying to use it to help Jen."
Anu Valia, who directed the episode, called the therapy circle sequence a "joy", adding "the whole second act is just in a room talking. It's so different than what you're used to [in a Marvel show]."
"I love those boys," Valia continued. "I can't tell you the many days we all spent together in that yurt, they were so playful. It really was like a therapy circle. Everybody was sharing so much and we all enjoyed each other so much. I know that Tatiana [Maslany] loved those guys, and they all loved her. What you're seeing is very real."
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