She-Hulk (lost production material of unreleased live-action Marvel film; 1995)

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She-Hulk poster.jpeg

The film's poster.

Status: Lost

She-Hulk is an unreleased 1990s live-action film based on the Marvel superheroine of the same name, starring Brigitte Nielsen with Larry Cohen as director. One of many attempts to bring the character to film, it ultimately managed only to illustrate the obstacles Marvel's cinematic efforts faced prior to the emergence of the MCU.


The character of Jennifer Walters, aka the She-Hulk, was first introduced in Savage She-Hulk #1 (1980). Walters is a rising young criminal lawyer and cousin of Dr. Bruce Banner, the original Incredible Hulk. When Banner is forced to give her a blood transfusion she becomes the likewise super-strong, super-durable She-Hulk - albeit unlike her cousin she is able to control her transformations, during which she retains not only self-awareness but her formidable wit and intelligence. Eventually, she fully embraces her alter-ego and also becomes the premier legal resource of the Marvel superhero community.


The character made her television debut in the eleventh episode of the very short-lived animated series The Incredible Hulk (1982-83).[1][2] She did not appear in the iconic live-action Incredible Hulk TV series, however The Death of the Incredible Hulk, the final TV-movie follow-up - produced some years after the series cancellation in 1982 - was originally planned to heavily involve her, though it's unknown who was to play the part.[3] Ultimately she was cut out of the final draft for unknown reasons.

Despite the generally poor reception of DotIH, producer New World Productions still owned the rights to Marvel characters and was eager to continue developing them. Eventually, Marvel Comics bought New World's "Family Filmworks" division outright. [4]

In 1991, work began on a potential standalone She-Hulk TV series, with original series writer Jill Sherman Donner as producer. She completed a draft pilot, titled "Metamorphosis." On vacation from a crusade to expose corruption, assistant district attorney Jennifer Walters runs into Bruce Banner - unrelated in this version - who is revealed to have faked his death. When Jennifer is shot by a hitman, the stage is set for Banner to both save and change her life. In another sharp departure from the comics, this She-Hulk would've acted much like Lou Ferrigno's near-mindless original, more familiar to TV viewers.

Filming began in the Virgin Islands in 1991. Unfortunately, prospective parent network ABC did not believe initial hire Mitzi (Baywatch) Kapture had the chops to carry a full TV series and persisted in trying to recast the role even as Kapture was playing it, offering it first to Melissa Gilbert, then volleyball star Gabrielle Reece.[5] Reece was interested and appropriately physically imposing, but apparently insisted that her She-Hulk have golden skin, as she considered the canonical dull green "not pretty".[6] So much production money was spent on the superfluous search that New World finally lost patience and cancelled filming.

The film

With Bill Bixby's death in 1993 came the definitive demise of the She-Hulk TV pilot. New World decided to take one last stab at the green superheroine, this time for the big screen. B-movie staple Larry Cohen was chosen to direct a script commissioned from Carl Gottlieb (screenwriter of the first three Jaws movies). The exact plot of the film - and whether it took cues from the existing "Metamorphosis" pilot script - is unknown.

The lead role this time went to Danish actress Brigitte Nielsen, best known as the similarly Amazonian Red Sonja. Photos were released of Neilsen dressed as Jennifer Walters in a red coat, while her superheroine persona sported an all-green leather jumpsuit and pale-green makeup with darker highlights. The photoshoot was evidently done in hopes of attracting more investors to the project.

Those investors never materialized, and - while its production got farther than most scrapped Marvel films - She-Hulk, the big-screen version, was never finished either. Though no official reason has been given, it was likely due to Marvel's generally less-than-stellar cinematic reputation at the time, especially after the disastrous Howard the Duck.[7] It is also claimed that the studio could not afford the budget for the flying car that She-Hulk drove in the comics.[8]


None of the footage or production materials for the TV series has ever surfaced, and the only released materials from the film were the publicity stills, along with a mockup poster that popped up on eBay.[9] It's unlikely that any footage or a trailer was ever filmed for this project.

Since then, of course, Marvel's onscreen stock has gone up considerably, making the She-Hulk's eventual appearance all but inevitable. On December 10th, 2020, Marvel Studios announced the character's MCU debut will be in a comedy series for Disney+, with Tatiana Maslany in the lead alongside Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth reprising their roles as Hulk and the Abomination respectively.[10] The series is set to premiere on August 17, 2022 and studio chairman Kevin Feige has stated that she will then go on to appear in future MCU movies.

On November 12th, 2020, the green leather costume that Brigitte Nielsen wore in the photoshoots resurfaced in the Icons & Legends of Hollywood auction held by Profiles in History.[11] It was bid in between $800-$1,200, though it's unknown if anyone actually bought it. Given that most of the items in the catalogue were identified as coming from Planet Hollywood’s collection - and that one of the celebrity founders of Planet Hollywood was Sylvester Stallone, who was once married to Brigitte Nielsen[12][13] - the costume's provenance seems legitimate.


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