Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Did She-Hulk Episode 2 Just Confirm Robert Downey Jr.'s Existence In The MCU?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is very different from our world, but over time, through various pop culture references, we're learning what's canon in our superheroes' lives. Just some of the people we know exist in the MCU are Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, Patrick Swayze, and Kevin Bacon. "Star Wars," Superman, and Batman are also very much real in the MCU, also including any actor who has ever appeared in the Lucasfilm franchise.

With so many movies and television shows mentioned in MCU projects, some of the actors who actually star in the universe are also canon within it. Make sense? For instance, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) calls Thor (Chris Hemsworth) "Lebowski" in "Avengers: Endgame," which means Jeff Bridges exists in the MCU. But the actor also plays Obidiah Stane in the original "Iron Man" film. This type of situation has happened yet again, thanks to Episode 2 of "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law." It looks like Robert Downey Jr. is officially canon as an actor in the MCU, thanks to one of his projects playing on a TV screen in the background of the episode.

Ally McBeal's inclusion in She-Hulk brings Robert Downey Jr. to the MCU

Episode 2 sees Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) struggle with getting a job after being let go from her law firm because of her new superhero powers. She is turned down at interview after interview and is down on her luck. She treks to the local bar we've seen a few times in the show now and drinks her sorrows away alone. Before she's approached by the ever-so-dry Holden Holliway (Steve Coulter) to join his firm, Jenn sits quietly at the bar while "Ally McBeal" plays on the TV just above her.

Fans of the late 90s law comedy watched the titular character, played by Calista Flockhart, go through several tumultuous relationships. One of those was with Larry Paul, a fellow lawyer portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. Serving as Ally's love interest in Season 4, Larry was a witty Bostonian, and the two seemed like they were endgame. But Larry had a child from a former marriage, who stayed in Massachusetts while he was in Detroit. Eventually, Larry goes back to Boston, and he and Ally keep their long-distance relationship going. The two were supposed to wed, but Downey was fired from the series for drug-related charges (via The Washington Post).

Ally McBeal was included in She-Hulk for a specific reason

While we don't see Robert Downey Jr. on the screen during "She-Hulk," it's clearly "Ally McBeal" that's playing as Flockhart is unmistakable. The show is strikingly similar to the 90s legal drama, and its inclusion in Episode 2 was strategic. "We never really talked about Ally McBeal or referenced her. Because I would say most of our writers' room was a little bit on the young side to have really known that show during its heyday. But yes, people can't help but make the comparison to Ally McBeal. So Ally McBeal playing in the bar was a choice made during post-production," Gao revealed to Variety. The shows Gao was inspired by while writing the show include "Fleabag" and "Better Call Saul."

If "Ally McBeal" and Robert Downey Jr. exist in the MCU, that means every other name from the cast list does as well. This includes Jane Krakowski, Lucy Liu, Portia di Rossi, Hayden Panettiere, and Gregg Germann, among many others. Not to mention Bobby Cannavale, who appeared in five episodes of "Ally McBeal" and is also a star of the "Ant-Man" films. Famke Janssen also played Larry's ex-wife, who is a Marvel legend in her own right, portraying Jean Grey in the early aughts "X-Men" films. James Marsden, who starred alongside Janssen in the "X-Men" trilogy as Cyclops, also appeared in "Ally McBeal."