She-Hulk head writer reveals how Better Call Saul influenced the Marvel TV show

Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters stands in a court room with her clothes ripped after turning into She-Hulk
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law was also inspired by three other TV shows. (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law used Better Call Saul as a major reference point, showrunner Jessica Gao has revealed.

Speaking exclusively to TechRadar ahead of the Disney Plus show's release, Gao talked about how the hit Netflix series was a big influence on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series, which debuts on August 18.

We asked Gao what had inspired She-Hulk: Attorney at Law's story threads, themes, and general vibe, and she told us how Better Call Saul, as well as Phoebe Waller-Bridge's multi-award winning comedy Fleabag, helped her initial pitch win the hearts and minds of Marvel Studios' executive team.

"When I pitched the show, the two touch points I used were Fleabag and Better Call Saul," Gao revealed. "With Fleabag, it was just how it's about a woman [navigating life], how heavily and real it felt with its female themes, and also with its fourth wall breaking elements. 

"Better Call Saul was a big inspiration, too, because it deftly blends humor and legal drama. But also it has truly exciting, action oriented stories that happen outside of the courtroom. There are lots of interesting things that happen outside the courtroom that are more interesting, or equal to, what is happening inside." 

Bob Odenkirk's Sau Goodman stands in a parking lot alone at night in Better Call Saul season 6

Better Call Saul's six-season run has just ended on Netflix. (Image credit: AMC)

It's fitting that Gao used Better Call Saul as a major inspiration for Marvel Studios' first legal comedy-drama project. The Netflix show's six-season run has just ended, with its final episode airing on AMC (in the US) on August 15. With She-Hulk: Attorney at Law set to air three days later on Disney Plus, this feels like an apt passing of the lawyer TV show torch between one hit series and another potentially popular one. 

Fleabag and Better Call Saul weren't the only series that Gao and her writing team used as reference points for the MCU Phase 4 project. Elaborating further on what inspired She-Hulk's live-action debut, Gao also listed a popular HBO Max show and a somewhat surprising FX TV drama as guides to telling a story that revolves around its lead character being a legal practitioner.

"Another show we talked about was Insecure," Gao continued. "Not only because the character Molly [played by Yvonne Orji] is a lawyer, but because of how [the show features] wonderful depictions of complex female friendships.

"And, finally, The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. I thought that show did such an amazing job of showing the ins and outs of a trial, all the things that were happening outside of it and how they affected everything in the trial. That was really wonderful to reference as well."

With so many similarly positioned TV shows to draw inspiration from, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law's legal aspects should be grounded in reality, even if it's a series centered on a superhuman lawyer. And, without giving too much away, that's definitely something that comes across in Marvel Studios' latest TV offering. We've seen the first four episodes of She-Hulk, and the show does a good job of capturing the intricacies and morality at the heart of legal cases, albeit ones wrapped up in superhero clothing.

You'll be able to read more about our thoughts on She-Hulk's MCU debut later this week in our review of those opening episodes, as well as find out more about the show's development in our exclusive chat with Gao and director Kat Coiro.

In the meantime, find out when She-Hulk: Attorney at Law debuts on Disney Plus, or read up on why Coiro can't tell you where the series fits on the MCU timeline. Alternatively, learn about how to watch the Marvel movies in order, or check out the films and TV shows that will make up Marvel Phase 5.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.

Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.