Ever since the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law trailer dropped, eagle-eyed Marvel fans have been trying to decipher when the Disney+ series takes place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe timeline. Centering on Jennifer “Jen” Walters’ (Tatiana Maslany) unwitting transition from a single, 30-something attorney into a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk, the comedy’s various promos and featurettes offered their biggest clues through the inclusion of her cousin, Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk.
Packed with conflicting visuals, things quickly got murky, however. Whereas certain scenes showed Bruce with his arm in a sling — presumably from the injury he sustained while wielding the Infinity gauntlet in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame — others show the superhero fully healed as “Smart Hulk.” Though confusing, some rightfully picked up on the fact that Bruce was wearing the same sling in the mid-credits scene from 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, starring Simu Liu.
Speaking to TVLine, head writer and executive producer Jessica Gao confirmed that She-Hulk takes place “not too far after” the events of Shang-Chi — something that becomes clearer at the end of the second episode. “It’s not, like, years later,” Gao explained. “It’s a relatively short amount of time.” That said, TVLine pointed out that the Shang-Chi film was set after Disney+’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, but before Eternals, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Spider-Man No Way Home, and Disney+’s Hawkeye.
Prior to Gao’s clarification, fans theorized that She-Hulk would take place during The Blip, aka the five-year span following the events of Avengers: Infinity War, during which Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet to snap away half of the universe’s population. Their biggest clue was a preview of Wong (Benedict Wong) mentioning the Book of Vishanti, which no longer exists in the MCU after its destruction in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Meanwhile, Wong’s appearance provided another hint when various sneak peeks teased him sharing scenes with Emil Blonsky, aka the Abomination (Tim Roth), whom he’d clashed with in Shang-Chi’s underground fight club scene. As Gao recently explained to ComicBook.com, Abomination was in her original She-Hulk pitch, even though viewers hadn’t seen him since 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and she “had no idea” what anyone’s “relationship to this character was anymore.” Her gamble paid off, and Abomination's inclusion in her new Disney+ series is ultimately what led to his appearance in Shang-Chi.
“Because he was built in to be such a big part of the show in that original pitch and in the writer’s room, we really like, we were creating this whole story for him,” Gao said. “Because everything in Marvel is connected, that was actually why he then was put in Shang-Chi because he was in our show.” This coordination on Marvel’s part shows just how much She-Hulk is tied to the larger story the studio is setting out to tell in Phases 4 and 5. Whether the new series will have a lasting impact on the MCU’s future remains to be seen, but with the announcement of Daredevil’s cameo, it sounds like She-Hulk will be around for a while.