She-Hulk and Spider-Man in Marvel Comics

Why Spider-Man Wasn’t Allowed To Be in ‘She-Hulk: Attorney at Law,’ Explained

Disney+’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is poised to introduce several new characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as well as bring back some familiar faces. The series follows Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk (Tatiana Maslany), as she balances being a Hulk and being a lawyer who specializes in superhumans. The series brings back Mark Ruffalo as She-Hulk’s cousin, Bruce Banner. Meanwhile, Hulk nemesis Abomination (Tim Roth) is also making his return, as is Doctor Strange’s Wong (Benedict Wong). Even Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox) is making a long-awaited return.

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Meanwhile, Frog-Man, the Matador, Man-Bull, the Wrecking Crew, and Titania (Jameela Jamil) are all slated to be making their live-action debuts in the series. So, it seems like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law almost has it all in relation to new and old MCU characters. However, one character that is noticeably absent is Spider-Man. In the comics, Spider-Man has a very close friendship with Daredevil, and viewers have certainly been waiting for the two to interact in a greater capacity in the MCU.

Previously, Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Daredevil met in Spider-Man: No Way Home, with Peter Parker seeking the help of a lawyer. However, Daredevil’s appearance was only a mere cameo. Hence, when She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was set to debut another top-notch lawyer, with a specialty in superhuman matters, as well as feature Daredevil, it seemed like the perfect opportunity for Spider-Man to pop up. However, Spider-Man is definitely not appearing in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, because he’s actually not allowed to.

Why was Spider-Man banned from She-Hulk?

In an interview with The Direct, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law creator Jessica Gao revealed why the series couldn’t feature Spider-Man. First of all, she explained the nature of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and how Walters’ status as a lawyer creates the perfect environment for MCU cameos. After all, there are truly unlimited scenarios in which any superpowered individual in the MCU could find themselves in legal trouble and needing a hand from a lawyer. However, of course, it couldn’t just be a free-for-all situation because such appearances had to be approved by the higher-ups of the studio.

Sometimes, the suggested appearances got the go-ahead, but other times they were declined, with or without explanation. The really big disappointment for Gao and her team, though, was being denied Spider-Man. Check out her statement to The Direct below:

There were a lot of characters from the comics– we wanted a lot of the comics for characters for fun situations where we could bring in like a character and think of like funny reasons why they would be in legal trouble. But there were a lot of characters that were from the comics that we couldn’t use either because of a rights issue, or there were a few times where it was because Marvel… all they would say is that they had other plans. And that’s all they would tell us. And then, we tried very, very hard to poke, and prod, and get a little bit more information. Of course, they wouldn’t tell us.

But I will say, the one MCU character that really bummed out a lot of the writers in our room that we couldn’t use was Spider-Man and anyone involved around– like in the Spider-Man universe. Because we had so many Spider-Man fans in the room.

While Gao doesn’t explain exactly why they couldn’t use Spider-Man or anyone close to Spider-Man, we can guess at the reason. Sony does still own the film rights to Spider-Man and many other characters appearing in their Spider-Man Universe (SSU). While Marvel and Sony famously managed to work out an agreement to let Spider-Man be in the MCU for the Spider-Man trilogy, that agreement might not extend to live-action TV series (animated appearances notwithstanding), and working that out was likely seen, by executives, as more trouble than it was worth. Hence, Spider-Man was sadly off-limits for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.

(feature image: Marvel Comics)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.