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She-Hulk Head Writer Jessica Gao Reveals The Cameos They Couldn't Get On The Show - Exclusive

"She-Hulk" is a fun and refreshing installment of Disney+ programming for plenty of reasons, but its endless cameos from the MCU really have people talking. The show offers the perfect formula for a fan favorite to stop by for a day, given that Tatiana Maslany's character, Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk), represents individuals with powers in court. Occasionally, she also Hulks out and attacks supervillain influencers, but that's neither here nor there.

While the show's numerous cameos are a fun ride for fans, there's a whole lot more red tape than the fandom might expect when it comes to getting the green light for cameos on projects like "She-Hulk." During an exclusive interview with Looper, "She-Hulk" head writer Jessica Gao explained the nuances of getting approvals for MCU cameos and which characters were completely off the table to use. Though the "She-Hulk" crew is used to the color green, the red tape can be a doozy. 

The red tape of MCU cameos

Jessica Gao had the tea on which MCU characters the "She-Hulk" writers couldn't use for the series and what exactly goes into the process of approvals. "There were a lot of characters that we wanted to use that we couldn't, both from the movies and from the comics," she explained. "Usually, if we couldn't use them, it was one of two reasons: Either there was a rights issue with the character or there [were] already other plans in the MCU for them. [It was] the same with pulling characters from the MCU."

The reasoning varied depending on the ask. As Gao put it, "Sometimes it's a rights issue, like all the characters involved with 'Spider-Man.' Other times, it might be availability, it might be [an] actor's interest, or maybe we couldn't afford it." Well, there goes any hope of getting a Green Goblin cameo on "She-Hulk." His name alone would fit right in, and he'd be the perfect villain for a longer trial.

Not letting cameos overpower the show

Making "She-Hulk" its own thing without the cameos overpowering the show's essence was important for Jessica Gao — and she and the team accomplished this flawlessly. 

"The format of the show itself, because it is a half-hour legal comedy, lends itself to organically bringing in cameos where you didn't feel like, 'Is this a show with this person anymore?' Each episode — not every episode, but [in] most episodes — there is a lawsuit or some sort of trial or legal situation," Gao explained. "There is a beginning, middle, and end in these episodes so that you felt like, 'Okay. This person was brought in because of this so that we can see this story unfold. But then that story has been wrapped up, and now I understand they're not part of every episode of the show.'"

The great thing about all of the "She-Hulk" cameos is that they all feel organic and tied to the show in a necessary way. It never feels like pandering or having a cameo just for a cameo's sake — which is a testament to Gao and the creative team. Gao added, "They've come in, and we've told the story. Of course, She-Hulk is always involved."

New episodes of "She-Hulk" stream Thursdays on Disney+.