This Week’s ‘She-Hulk’ Sets Up Some Huge Marvel Villain Debuts
This week’s She-Hulk is so inconsequential in the short-term that it actually made fun of the fact that it was a minor, standalone episode. Even before the opening titles, Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) breaks the fourth wall to announce that she’s taking an inopportune break from the show’s ongoing storylines to attend an old friend’s wedding.
In a way, that was a fake-out. While most of the episode was indeed a light-hearted lark, the show ended with a tease that could wind up introducing (or in one or two cases, reintroducing) live-action versions some of the most famous and powerful villains in all of Marvel Comics. They would be the “Intelligencia,” yet another group of super-villains who have been featured in the past in Marvel books, and who are name-checked at the end of Episode 6 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
In the show, Intelligencia is the name of a Reddit-like website where internet trolls congregate to exchange mean GIFs and memes about She-Hulk. Jen’s co-worker Mallory (Renee Elise Golsberry) dismisses the site as one more meaningless source of internet hate. But Jen’s best friend Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) isn’t sure it’s all so innocent. And she is correct, because at the very end of the episode, we see glimpses of some mysterious villains prepping a gigantic syringe to college She-Hulk’s blood for an experiment.
It’s possible Nikki knows not to trust the Intelligencia because she’s read Marvel Comics, where it is the name of a group of brilliant super-villains who congregate occasionally to share information, and often to use it against the Hulk. Here they are on the cover of the 2009 mini-series Fall of the Hulks.
Marvel.com describes the group thusly:
They are some of the most brilliant minds on the planet, and some of the most dangerous criminals as well. United they may achieve things denied to them on their own, and the world would be at the mercy of the Intelligencia.
The group was the brainchild of the Leader, the Hulk’s most persistent antagonist in Marvel Comics. That’s him in the orange jumpsuit and giant green noggin above. He’s been exposed to gamma radiation just like the Hulk, only his made his brain stronger instead of his muscles. The other members of the crew, from left to right, are Doctor Doom, MODOK, the Red Ghost, the Mad Thinker, Egghead, and the Wizard. (The giant gorillas are “Super-Apes,” who have been exposed to the same cosmic rays that gave the Fantastic Four their powers. Now they serve Red Ghost, who also has cosmic powers, because comics are the absolute best.)
While it’s too early to tell which if any of these baddies we’ll see in She-Hulk’s version of the Intelligencia, there’s one that seems like a very safe bet: The Leader. Not only is he the character with the biggest chip on his shoulder when it comes to the Hulks, but also because Marvel has already announced that the character, who first appeared onscreen way back in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk will be returning to the MCU in the very near future. Tim Blake Nelson, who played the Leader (or at least his human alter ego, Samuel Sterns) in Incredible Hulk has been announced as the villain of Captain America: New World Order, which is due in theaters on May 3, 2024.
She-Hulk seems primed for a surprise re-debut of the Leader, in much the same way Loki concluded on a surprise cameo from Jonathan Majors’ Kang ahead of his official first appearance in the MCU in the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Some of the other members of the Intelligencia are pretty unlikely — although it would be cool as hell to see She-Hulk fight some Super-Apes.
New episodes of She-Hulk premiere weekly on Thursdays on Disney+. Sign up for the service here.