She-Hulk Ep 6 & Head Writer Jessica Gao Interview + Andor Eps 1-3 | Crooked Media
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September 23, 2022
X-Ray Vision
She-Hulk Ep 6 & Head Writer Jessica Gao Interview + Andor Eps 1-3

In This Episode

We’re releasing two episodes this week! The episode you’re currently reading about contains all things She-Hulk and Andor.


On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight sustain 20 seconds of eye contact! In the Previously On (4:08) Jason and Rosie discuss She-Hulk episode 6, quickly summarizing the episode before theorizing all about adamantium, villainous geniuses, and Mr. Immortal. Then, in the Hive Mind (36:05) Jason and Rosie welcome the incredible and lovely She-Hulk head writer Jessica Gao to discuss bootleg manga, bringing She-Hulk to life, out-trolling the trolls, and more. Plus, Jason and Rosie ask all sorts of questions we know Jessica can’t really answer about the MCU. Finally, in the Airlock (55:44), Jason and Rosie dive deep (deeep) into the premiere three episodes of Andor on Disney+, discussing flashbacks, opportunities for larger conversations around fascism and power, and the directions and ideas they hope to see the series explore.


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Union Jack #1 (1998) – written by John Cassaday, Ben Raab, penciled and inked by Cassaday, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Comicraft and Richard Starkings; first appearance of Baroness Blood.


Sensational She-Hulk (1989) – written and penciled by John Byrne, inks by Bob Wiacek, colors by Glynis Oliver, letters by John Workman.







Jason Concepcion Warning. This podcast contains spoilers for She-Hulk Episodes six and and/or episodes one through three. We’re releasing two episodes this week, so be sure to check out both for a full conversation. Yeah. Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion and welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast where we’re diving deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture. On Episode two of this week, the episode you’re listening to, we are talking to She-Hulk head writer Jessica GAO, and we will be discussing She-Hulk episode six with us, which is a crazy, crazy. It just goes crazy. The episode goes crazy. And we will be discussing the the latest entry in Star Wars television ANDOR Episodes one through three are out now on Disney Plus. So we’ll be talking about that in a more general way to give you give you all time to digest the episodes. And we’ll be going on a deeper dive in weeks to come. And, of course, joining us today is Rosie Knight.


Rosie Knight It’s me. I’m here. Yes. We made it. We’re on both epsiodes.


Jason Concepcion As always, everyone check the show notes for the timestamps if you want to jump around and listen to the things that you want to listen to. Let’s go back into the courtroom or the wedding the wedding hall, whatever the case may be. And talk about She-Hulk. Episode six. Episode six Just Jen written by Kara Brown, directed by Anu Valia. Lots to get into. Quick recap. Jen has to go to a wedding where she discovers that her arch rival, her arch foe Titania, is also a wedding guest. And is this some sort of part of this some sort of plot for Titania to defeat Jen publicly in front of everyone? And then back to the law firm, Mallory and Nicky are dealing with the case of a gentleman who goes by the name of Mr. Immortal.


Rosie Knight Dun dun dun.


Jason Concepcion Dun dun dun. Who who cannot die. Because, you know, according to the comics, he’s a flat out mutant. And he has been using this power to not die, to defraud various romantic partners and business partners by, quote unquote, faking his death. Lot’s to get into, so let’s just get into it. Fun episode once again.


Rosie Knight This is just such a fun show and I feel like I’m really impressed by how much fun they have digging into the wierder parts of Marvel. Like obviously Mr. Immortal that’s a big deal. So technically he is everyone in the Marvel Universe sees him as a mutant and technically.


Jason Concepcion He’s a mutant.


Rosie Knight He is a mutant. But the thing that is really interesting is he is the only member of the evolutionary race known as the Homo Supreme. So he’s like one above a mutant, but he is for all extension purposes and is presents as homo superior, which is a mutant. So yeah, it’s it that’s just like huge to have him here and also just use it in such a absolutely hilarious She-Hulk way.


Jason Concepcion Yes.


Rosie Knight Where it’s like this guy has been defrauding people he loves because he can’t have confrontation by just killing himself. It’s like really bleak but also very hilarious and very comic booky. And he, he is like, this is an extremely big episode in a lot of ways because it shows us not only that the creative team here, obviously, absolutely hilarious. But also.


Jason Concepcion This is the most comic book nerdy.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Show yet. Like digging in the stacks for these references.


Rosie Knight He talks about when he’s there, he’s talking about how he’s got a lot of money. Right. And part of how he got a lot of money is because his ex-wife left him a bunch of gold.


Jason Concepcion The Baroness.


Rosie Knight Baroness Cromwell, a.k.a. Baroness Blood. So, yes, it’s just like they were just like, yeah, go for it. They were like.


Jason Concepcion So tell us.


Rosie Knight Do it up.


Jason Concepcion Tell us who Baroness Blood is. And then let’s dive into the really actually quite funny backstory of of who Mr. Immortal is, at least in the comics.


Rosie Knight Yeah. So Baroness Blood is like a really weird, creepy character who was first introduced hilariously in everyone’s favorite comic union Jack number one. She from 1998, which isn’t obviously that far away, but she is part of now like most well known as a part of the Legion of the Unliving, which is like a group of vampires who were brought together by Dracula. So you can basically say, like, we have had a Dohnny Blaze Johnny Blaze joke in this season. We’re now getting into the realm where vampires probably exist there now.


Jason Concepcion And mutants are just walking around.


Rosie Knight Not only that, but as we as we guessed, so I’m taking this as a we were right. We said post Miss Marvel, what they were going to do was just introduce random mutants here and there. They’re going to say, here’s a mutant, here’s someone who’s been living with these crazy powers and we’re just going to build them into the fabric of the world. And that’s exactly what they’re doing with Mr. Immortal and with the way that they’re just casually kind of dropping in these things. I mean, Baroness Blood is like a supernatural, superpowered vampire. Makes sense that she would have married an immortal. I mean, that’s. That’s a hook up that works. But basically, you can now say that vampires 100% do exist in the MCU.


Jason Concepcion Let me ask you this. My my my friend, comic book critic and sportswriter Matt Terrell DM’d me. And he was like, hey, I think you were talking about you and Rosie were talking about why does Atlantis come to the fore? I think they’re going to do when they introduce mutants. I think it’s going to be similar to Atlantis, Secret Society, Krakoa era, and they’re all there and they reveal themselves. And then it’s a question of how they, you know, then become part of the wider society, if that’s indeed what they decide to do. I kind of agree that I think Krakoa is going to be around, but here is what the appearance of Mr. Immortal suggests. That because if Krakoa is a thing, then Mr. Immortal should be on the island. Like, why are you.


Rosie Knight Unless he’s like. Unless he’s just like, Nah.


Jason Concepcion He rejected the gift of Krakoa.


Rosie Knight Because he is already immortal. So he doesn’t need the Krakoan gift.


Jason Concepcion Here is my. Here is the other thing that I think and it kind of dovetails with Mr. Immortal. I do think that Krakoa exists, but I also think, like Warren Worthington and others in a way that would seem insidious to the wider society has infiltrated human culture, you know, or you know or are not have not revealed themselves to be mutants, but are around and are doing things and are some of them are powerbrokers in human society. And I think that a Mr. Immortal, maybe points the way at that and.


Rosie Knight I agree.


Jason Concepcion It’s mutants being around but if have been kind of keeping it quiet for most of human history until recently when it’s like, oh, powered people are around, maybe I can start being more obvious with the things that I’m doing.


Rosie Knight No Mr. Immortal makes a lot of sense in that context, also because he’s essentially living by what I like to call Twilight Rules, where he’s basically because he’s been alive for like a million years and he can never die. He’s just immensely rich. So in its own way, especially in America and in like capitalism kind of culture, you are you have infiltrated the highest parts of society just simply by being incredibly wealthy. So that’s exactly that kind of thing. And also, as we know if. GLK&H didn’t exist, these women and Sebastian probably would never have actually known that he was immortal and hadn’t actually died. And if they had seen the video that we will get to, the intelligentsia video, they wouldn’t have had a way to get recompense. So I think they’re introducing this superhero law firm is a really good way of seeding exactly what you’re talking about, where suddenly everyone’s like, okay, wait a minute, I had a weird experience with this person or that thing that I saw that one time.


Jason Concepcion Was that it?


Rosie Knight Was that it?


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight That one time that I randomly don’t remember something that happened when I got like men in black and then suddenly my memories wiped like, oh, they said that was like retrograde amnesia, but maybe that was actually like a mutant with mind control powers. So this is kind of huge in that way, as well as just being very fun.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, because that, that paranoia is a, is a thing that we see a lot in X-Men comics where parents are like, Oh my God, I think my child might be a mutant. I think my coworker might be in it. And it creates this feeling of real fear in the general population. I want to. I want to note that it’s it’s it’s remarkable to me that, one, we got Mr. Immortal, and he’s just presented just as himself with his powers and no one. At all has been like, where did he get these? We are past the point in the MCU where.


Rosie Knight Oh yeah.


Jason Concepcion Where did they get the powers is really a question. They’re just accepting that this guy can do this and no one has thought to ask, well, how can how is he doing this?


Rosie Knight That’s my favorite thing about where we are now. It’s almost like with that brilliant moment at the end of Miss Marvel that we all loved so much, which was, you know, it’s a mutation that has basically opened the doors now for us as the viewers to just say, oh, well, they might be a mutant. Oh, everyone has powers now. And it is giving a lot of leeway for the shows to just say, hey, superheroes exist. You know this. You’ve been in there now for 25 movies. Now it’s just happening. But yeah, I did find it especially a power, like being immortal.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, he’s not.


Rosie Knight That’s a pretty intense power to have. And nobody.


Jason Concepcion He’s not an Asgardian elf.


Rosie Knight Nope.


Jason Concepcion He’s not a former super soldier. He was not, you know, subject to a radioactive accident. He just running around with these very intense.


Rosie Knight Causes.


Jason Concepcion And no end. And nobody’s talking about it.


Rosie Knight Nikki and Malory are just like so you can die? You can’t die? Do you die? Like  which one? You know, it’s very it’s a very interesting time to be in the MCU.


Jason Concepcion It’s. It’s great.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Okay. So. So much in that last kind of stinger scene where, you know, Jen is having, you know, that kind of the plate of fries at the end of the wedding after the big fight with Titania, kind of bonding with this guy who seems, you know, pretty accepting and certainly maybe attracted to Jen. And they’re sharing this plate of fries. And then we zoom out and it’s clear that somebody is keeping track of Jen. We go to a futuristic lab where there is a screen where we see someone named Hulk King capitalized in a very interesting way, certainly in a way that would lead us to speculate about Hulk Link. Hulk Ling is that what that means? Saying, Okay, where are we with with Jen? We should note that this is exactly how Mr. Blue communicated with Mr. Green in in the Incredible Hulk movie starring Ed Norton. And then, you know, we see the the bent needle that the Wrecking Crew attempted to stab Jen with.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And then we see another needle being snapped onto a new syringe, and it’s early, but I’m going to call. We were right on this, the adamantium needle, because they do affect the sound effect. Listen, it might be vibranium, but the sound. It was so distinct and it led me to, one, in the comics, the only thing that can penetrate the Hulk skin is in Adamantium needles that we’ve seen, seen numerous times in the comics. And two, the sound it makes is very much like snipped.


Rosie Knight It’s evocative.


Jason Concepcion It’s evocative of Wolverine’s claw.


Rosie Knight Also, I would just say we were right. We can do a two part. We were right. One, I also agree, I think it has to be Adamantium Needle. They’re just throwing mutants around now. I don’t see any issue. We’ve had multiple Wolverine like Easter eggs at this point with stuff in Madripoor, but also as well. We were right. We knew they would make a new needle that would be made of some kind of super strong metal, be it adamantium or vibranium. So I would be yeah, I would say we can take we were right. And also if it’s an adamantium needle, obviously that’s so exciting because most people who are listening I think will probably know Adamantium is the metal that covers Wolverine’s bones and his claws in the X-Men comics and in the. That plays a large part in the in X-Men movies. So again, we’re moving towards that mutant space.


Jason Concepcion Okay. So let’s talk about two things here in that scene. One, Hulk King, who is he? Who is he or her? Who are they?


Rosie Knight So I think I think that you’re very right that they want it again, if we’re talking about evocative stuff, I think they want it to evoke Hulkling. It looks the same. Also, Hulkling.


Rosie Knight Like Dohnny Blaze.


Rosie Knight And Hulkling


Jason Concepcion I think they want us to think Johnny Blaze.


Rosie Knight And Hulkling is Skrull royalty, you know. So he is technically a Hulk King. I also think so the reason that we know is that, another thing that we need to look at is the way that it pops up. It is very evocative of a website that we just saw, which was called The Intelligentsia, which was kind of this MRA, fortune esque website where they a lot of dudes would just tell me how much they hate She-Hulk and they want to kill She-Hulk. But that in itself is really important because in the comics, the intelligentsia was this villain knowledge sharing group that ended up becoming a super villain group, and they were the ones who created Red Hulk, which you find out in 2010s Hulk 23. They were the ones who convinced Thunderbolt Ross to take the Hulk serum and become Red Hulk. So there’s also that aspect where it’s like.


Jason Concepcion I do think we’re heading towards a Red Hulk from this.


Rosie Knight We’re heading towards Red Hulk Slash Red She-Hulk for sure.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Rosie Knight And so like is what I think is really interesting is we thought Timberlake Nelson, the leader was going to be the one kind of the Machiavellian guy behind the curtain. He could be he could see himself as the Hulk King. But I will also say he is a really good scientist. He could actually just be running that lab. And whoever is actually behind this, who is the Hulk King? You know, for all we know, this is I’m going to throw out really out there one.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight What if like in the comics. So what if Bruce has gone back to Sakaar. Jen, cannot.


Jason Concepcion I like this.


Rosie Knight Jen cannot get in touch with him, right? Yeah. Tinfoil hat thing. This one, right. Whatever. Yeah. Scar, Hulk’s son is already on earth and is the one who is doing all of this because he hates his dad, which is a a very canon comic book thing. And he is actually the one who’s trying to find out about how Hulk blood works. He’s the one who’s trying to find out who She-Hulk is. There’s all different things that could be coming into play here. And I kind of I’m very impressed by how they took what we thought was a pretty simple but with a lot of fun stuff. Like we had the Elliott Franklin theory, we had a lot of different fun stuff, but. I love that now they’ve turned it on its head and now there’s like 100 other people because Intelligentsia has so many Hulk villains in it, too. So as well as like M.O.D.O.K.. Red Ghost, Dr. Doom, like all different kinds of people. So there’s just so much here that they’re playing with the Hulk King thing just kind of blew my mind because I’m like, I need to know. And also it’s just one of these crazy intelligentsia website guys who just has a ton of money. I know one of the in our discord, a lot of people have been guessing that that the guy who Jen went on a date with who was like a real creep, who then ended up at the office.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Nice


Rosie Knight He might be the villain. And now we know that he’s the Hulk King. Super rich, wealthy like hates strong women, you know? So that would also be really interesting.


Jason Concepcion Chris Producer Chris is raising a theory in the chat. Could Josh, cute guy at the wedding, could they eat the fries with in that moment in that you know as the the secret camera wherever that’s hidden like zooms out and we see that she’s being observed Josh is there with her. Could Josh, cute guy at the wedding, end up being a fake out name and he’s actually the Hulk king? I, I like that as well.


Rosie Knight I think Chris is definitely on to something.


Jason Concepcion Because they introduced that guy in a way he can’t be just like another niceguy.


Rosie Knight Exactly. And he knows he goes in there with the exact specific attack of I don’t just like She-Hulk, I like Jen, which publicly was just a huge thing in a lawsuit. And then it seems very unlikely to me that he would. He’s got her in a Jen form because he likes Jen.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight And he. So that means you can get her blood even without an adamantium needle. Potentially. But Adamantium needle’s a good choice. Just because you don’t know how someone’s human skin could take on its Hulk skin form. But then he’s sitting right in the right place in front of the camera so that she can be seen. I think Josh is sadly at least Intelligentsia.


Jason Concepcion adjacent.


Rosie Knight Adjacent. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion I I’ll say this. We do. I don’t think it’s the leader for the following reason. Just put a syringe in your own arm.


Rosie Knight Right. Okay. So he’s.


Jason Concepcion Got you got the blood is.


Rosie Knight Is he trying.


Jason Concepcion We’ve established. I’ll just sit with that. We have established the Jen’s blood is is super special in even in the context of gamma irradiated blood, it allowed Bruce to heal his arm. It has different properties. That said, it feels like the leader would be focused elsewhere.


Rosie Knight Maybe the leader wants Jen’s blood to cure himself because he’s, like, deformed and kind of messed up by it. But also, how would he know that Jen’s blood is better blood?


Jason Concepcion Right, how would he know?


Rosie Knight I think with the Intelligentsia, the Hulk King. I think that all leads to this idea of somebody creating a Red Hulk or Red She-Hulk, which we had long wondered about. And I will just say would be a very cool way to reintroduce Liv Tyler to the MCU, because Betty is Red She-Hulk in the comics originally, and I just think that would be so cool.


Jason Concepcion Do you think that I agree with the the jilted date as being an Intelligentsia person? But do you think there’s any you think M.O.D.O.K. or any of the super ape or any of the rest are involved in this?


Rosie Knight I think that they I think they have long. They have long talked about bringing M.O.D.O.K. to the MCU. I think he’s going to be in the MCU. I don’t think this is where. But I do think that knowing She-Hulk, we could see some super weird characters, like awesome Android and like other people who’ve been in the Intelligentsia. Oh, yeah. So Chris just mentioned that he. Yeah. M.O.D.O.K. is confirmed in Quantum Mania. We’ve already seen some leaked visuals of what potentially he could look like. But like, I think that knowing She-Hulk, they’re going to go for the weird. Now, now, look, M.O.D.O.K. is very weird. I’m not saying, but M.O.D.O.K. is.


Jason Concepcion Is one of the weirdest.


Rosie Knight And unbelievably complex character to bring to life. Yes, and I think very much so. In quantum mania, you probably can dedicate a couple of years to somebody just building M.O.D.O.K. and working out how he would look. You know, if you haven’t seen him, he’s like basically a giant floating head.


Jason Concepcion Producer Saul with an extremely tinfoil hat, comes with, I wonder if Josh is Amadeus Cho like.


Rosie Knight Oh my God, I wish that was the case.


Jason Concepcion In disguise. I don’t think that that I like where your head is at. But one, this feels a little bit low stakes for the the genius of Amadeus Cho and two, I think they probably cast younger seeming.


Rosie Knight Okay, what if?


Jason Concepcion A lot younger seeming.


Rosie Knight If it was Amadeus Cho, what if.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight Hypothetically, me and Chris are right but wrong. Like, instead of just being a part of the Intelligentsia, he’s actually that to protect Jen because of his stupid genius. You know, I would I agree with you, though. I think if you’re going to do Amadeus, you’re going to probably make him like a super teen. But I do really like that idea. And I don’t think it’s that out of the realm of possibility simply because we know that this is a place where they’re basically introducing slash reintroducing a lot of the Hulk family.


Jason Concepcion I agreed. And I also, you know, to Chris’s point, that M.O.D.O.K. is confirmed for Quantumania. It does. It feels a little bit like, you know, not to not to ruin the magic by peaking too far behind the curtain. But I imagine that one, part of the reason they’re digging so deep into the crates is because whoever the Marvel lore keeper is at MCU was, you know, was like, oh, no, you can’t use that person because we’re using them for this. Can we use M.O.D.O.K.? No M.O.D.O.K.’s in Quantum Mania so we can’t use him.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Can we use. You know, U.S. Agent. No, I can’t use U.S. Agent.


Rosie Knight I mean that’s like, you know, he was that he was pulling those deep cut places out. So you didn’t have that crossover for sure.


Jason Concepcion So I feel like, you know, for all the implications and there are many. I. I would imagine that it’s. There’s a world where Marvel is having similar conversations where they’re like, Okay, they use this weird character. I wonder what all the implications that we could then generate stories off of from there.


Rosie Knight I also think as well, the other thing that we know that the MCU loves to do, I mean, it’s part of why we’re here with our tinfoil hat theories and all we were right and stuff. They love to seed stuff, so I’m sure they love introducing that Intelligentsia, they knew people were going to make that connection to M.O.D.O.K.. And there is a world where we even hear someone referenced, you know, the machine designed only for killing or something like this. I feel like there’s a way that they can they can still have or they have someone just say, you know, of course sir. And they send an email. And so, like, they can do that fun stuff where they see the end without necessarily having to show like the giant floating head creature, you know. So yeah, I just like I this was such a fun episode, but like you said, it’s the implications. Like they’re having fun, but they’re also like vampires exist. Wolverine like, it’s. It’s really fun stuff.


Jason Concepcion Okay, Adamantium versus vibranium. Here is my take. And obviously, you know, there’s also the possibility that could be some other weird super, you know, some titanium alloy that they’re like, okay, maybe this will, you know, that it’s not necessarily adamantium. Although, again, clearly, they want us to think that. Here’s why I think. Here’s my case for it not being vibranium. We’ve established, while we have established that vibranium is a wonder metal that has a lot of. Really amazing properties, among them being extreme durability. The other thing that we’ve established with Vibranium is that the number one thing about it that really makes it special is that it’s it absorbs and releases kinetic energy. We see that with the Black Panther suit. It’s it’s got this property of it can absorb all the damage and all the hits that are being directed towards it. And then it can release it as like a focused energy class. So it’s got that property to it. That is a very distinctly different like you wouldn’t necessarily need that for a needle. What you need for a needle that you want to pierce a hulk skin is just is it unbreakable? Will it bend? Is it is it. Indestructible, basically. And that is the key difference between these two wonder medals is that both are really, really, really strong. Vibranium is almost indestructible. But Adamantium, unless you bring it to its melting point, is basically indestructable. Yeah, it’s like you can’t break it.


Rosie Knight It’s like there is like obviously times because it’s comic books where like I believe it was like Ultimate Hulk managed to break in Adamantium Needle or something. Yeah, but like in general, Adamantium is going through whatever they want it to go through. We’ve seen it with Wolverine. We’ve seen it. And also, look, they make these shows. These shows are made by people who love this stuff. They’re made by people like Zeb Wells and Zig who make the comics they know.


Jason Concepcion All about this shit.


Rosie Knight If you create, if you end an episode with a needle.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight That is looks really big and shiny and goes into a syringe with the kind of like going, yeah, they know that people are going to say, Oh, that’s an adamantium needle. Now we also know that because of how the show has been and how funny they are and how much they kind of enjoy playing with expectations, it could literally next week they’ll be like, Oh yeah, this is a this is a very strong needle called like Gadamantium.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, they might do that. This is something that they might do.


Rosie Knight It’s like the step before adamantium on the but you know, like it’s just the reason it’s fun is because we get to guess. And also I will say, I think with everything else in this episode, I believe it being adamantium is very, very likely because. Like I said, they just casually revealed that vampires just fully exist.


Jason Concepcion Just fully just running around.


Rosie Knight Vampires are real. And also that mutant mutants, the real vampires are real.


Jason Concepcion Running around.


Rosie Knight I think that Adamantium in that context could definitely be real anything.


Jason Concepcion Well, let’s welcome She-Hulk head writer Jessica GAO to the show now and ask her some questions potentially, including whether or not that’s Adamantium. And is Mr. Immortal a mutant? And does that mean Krakoa is not a thing right now? Questions I’m sure she will answer.


Rosie Knight Definitely going to give us all the answers.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>


Rosie Knight This week in the Hive Mind, where we bring on experts to discuss their work and more. X-ray Vision is thrilled to welcome She-Hulk head writer, Jessica GAO.


Jessica Gao Hello. Thanks for having me.


Rosie Knight Oh, thank you so much for coming on. So, like, one of the questions we always ask because this is the bread and butter of what we do and what we care about, like what’s your origin story of comics? Like, how did you find comics? What do you care about? What was it about comics that made you fall in love with them? Or do you not care about comics at all? And just ended up on the MCU show?


Jessica Gao I was a lifelong comic book reader when I was a kid. I read mostly manga because my I was born in China and I immigrated to America when I was young. And my relatives in China, you know, I was like a bookworm. And so they would always want to send me gifts because they they missed me or because somebody went to visit. You have to send a gift. And they would all because the one thing they knew about me was that I loved reading. They were they would constantly sent me Chinese bootlegs of whatever was like a hot manga in Japan at the time. And so I just have like stacks of bootleg comics that I that I read constantly, you know? And so it was a lot of like Dragon Ball and like Randma and YuYu Hakusho, City Hunter, Cat Eye, you know, stuff like that like whatever was hot in Japan and that the bootleggers felt was worth bootlegging. That’s what I got back then. And then when I got more into when I was more when I was a teenager, that’s when I got into reading like more like American comics. And like my first job in high school was at the local comic book store.


Jason Concepcion Oh, that’s cool.


Jessica Gao Yeah, but I was never, like, to be fair and honest, I was never huge on mainstream comics, but I didn’t read a lot of Marvel or DC. I mostly like the most mainstream I read was probably like Image and Vertigo Comics. And then I and but I really got heavily into like the indie stuff, you know, like anything that, like Fantagraphics put out slave labor graphics drawing and quarterly like that was like more my jam, you know.


Jason Concepcion So how did you get attached to She-Hulk? What was the process like? What was your take on the character that got you the gig?


Jessica Gao Well, they they knew me. I mean, I’ve told the story a few times now where She-Hulk was the fourth time I pitched Marvel’s is the fourth project I pitched there, which means that, you know, I was rejected three times before I got She-Hulk. But She-Hulk was always my favorite character from Marvel Comics. And so I like all three other times that I got rejected. I would bring up She-Hulk and be like, Guys, if you do She-Hulk, you got to you got to call your girl. And then I was threatened arson if they didn’t, you know, just so they knew I was serious.


Rosie Knight Yeah, yeah.


Jessica Gao And yeah. And so when I went into pitched She-Hulk, I mean, anytime I pitched TV, it always starts with character, you know, like you have to care about this main character to want to hang out with them week after week. And for me, like, you know, what I loved about She-Hulk from the comics was just how meta the Burn Run was. That was the one that maybe found love with She-Hulk and her break in the fourth wall, like how irreverent she was, how funny she was. You know, she didn’t like being in comics too seriously. Like there was just this levity to it that I really found really refreshing, you know? And so especially since, you know, like I think the most mainstream stuff I read in when I was a teenager was probably Batman comics. And that’s always very dark and serious, you know? So like something like She-Hulk is just it’s so like the polar opposite and tone wise. And I just it was just like a breath of fresh air. So how I approached the character was, you know, I just felt like I could really relate to her. You know, I thought about our similarities. You know, we’re both women in our thirties with careers, like very focused on work and but also, you know, have friends, have like, you know, family that we talk to, unlike a lot of comic book characters. Yeah. And, and, but then I thought, like, you know, if this thing happens to me one day, I, there was an accident and I got superpowers and I became a Hulk. And there were all these expectations that now I would have to be a superhero. I’d be fucking furious. Because, I mean, if you look at the shirt I’m wearing, it says I’m tired. That’s how I am all day. And so I would be like, I’m too tired to add one more thing to my plate. And also like, I didn’t ask for this like, no, thank you. You know, like if I was a lawyer and I’d gone through like law school and I had racked up six figures in student loans, like who’s going to pay that? They’re not going to forgive the debt just because I’m a superhero now. Like, I’m still on the hook to pay that off, you know, like, oh, I’m supposed to just, like, stop everything and but still have to deal with all the ramifications, like just because it happened, like I would be. You know what I mean? Like, there’s. Oh, yeah. So much messiness in the minutia of what happens, like. Yeah. There’s a big concept of, like, oh, you have powers now you have to be a superhero. But it’s like, but let’s look at all the details, you know, like, where are you going to get your health care from? Who’s who’s providing that? Like. Yeah. How do you get paid? Like, how do you. What’s your retirement plan if you’re a superhero? Like that’s all the stuff we have to think about.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I actually wrote an article off The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the episode where Sam Wilson said that The Avengers didn’t get paid and that Tony didn’t pay them. And I was like, This has broken my brain. Like the minutia minding side of my brain. It’s like, how do they live? How do they have insurance? How do they do anything, you know? And so something I’m interested about because that kind of aspect of minutia and the slice of life aspect of the show is something that we love so much. Do you feel like your love of like indie comics stuff like you mentioned Fantagraphics? I’m guessing like Love and Rockets, stuff like that. That’s like one of my favorite comics. Do you feel like you brought those storytelling sensibilities to She-Hulk as well by kind of looking more like the holistic life of the character, like in indie comics sometimes do, rather than just that big concept superhero stuff?


Jessica Gao Yeah, definitely. Because, you know, I didn’t really approach this following a traditional superhero formula. You know, it was definitely more about like the tone was a lot more important, you know, and like it’s not a plot heavy show, it’s an episode, it’s a very episodic show and it’s very much about the slice of life, you know? And it really is. It’s exactly like you said, it’s this kind of holistic, well-rounded look of like, what is the entire totality of this person’s life?


Jason Concepcion One thing that is really resonating with us as comic book nerds is just how this is the most comic book nerd show from Marvel. Yeah, it really is. Like the, the, the way it just present, you know, the way Mr. Immortal shows up. And he’s just been around he’s just been around doing his Mr. Immortal thing in the world. And it’s taken as part of the texture of of this space. And that is that’s part of the excitement of reading comics when I was a kid to me is just having a window open into this entire vibrant world where people are running around doing things, going to the gym, going shopping, using their powers for good and ill. How much of that was really was what you were going for, where you’re going to like? We’re going to pull from all these different things and we’re not even going to be like, how did Mr. Immortal get his powers? Forget about it. We’re just going to present him as the person that’s running around.


Jessica Gao Yeah. I mean, you know, it just it felt like we’re over a decade into the MCU, like and, you know, every other movie introduces a new character, a superhero, somebody with powers, you know, and, like, they’re in the they’re in the double digits now, you know? So people in their world have been living with this for years and years and years. So it’s no longer like a shock to the system of like that people with superpowers exist. These people exist, you know, and not every single person is going to make the news and become an Avenger. There are people like Mr. Immortal who are like, Oh, I’m only going to use this for my personal life. And there’s no contribution to society, you know, like there’s just there’s just people around who have these powers. And, you know, we really wanted to focus on the lower level, not the global Save the Universe kind of thing. We wanted to focus on like the everyday street level people who aren’t making the news and are just kind of existing.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And how fun was it as a process to kind of get to go through and pick? You know, we get Mr. Immortal here, we get a reference to Baroness Blood. So I’m like, now definitely that vampires exist in the MCU. That is my head canon. But like how fun was it in the room too, you know, we talked to Zig and he was talking about, you know, pulling out names like The Wrecking Crew and stuff. So how fun was it to kind of get to dig in and find those characters who fit this low ground level superhero world that you were building?


Jessica Gao It’s really fun, and so are our writers room. The makeup of the writers room was 50% like Marvel super nerds and like Zig and like Zeb Wells and, you know, Jackie Geils and like and then the other half were just comedy writers who were like, Yeah, I have never touched a comic book and I don’t really need to unless I’m being paid to do it, you know.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Jessica Gao But it’s, but I like we needed that balance.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jessica Gao Because we can’t be completely inside baseball when it comes to comics. Because this is still a sitcom, first and foremost. So it was nice to have that mix of people to kind of balance out, like what is going to be funny, you know, but what’s also going to be true to the comics. And so it was really nice to have half the room be able to like start pulling from the comics like, you know, like, like Zig and Zeb and everybody would they already have like their, their kind of mental list of characters they’ve always wanted?


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Yeah.


Jessica Gao And our philosophy was always like the, the lower level, like the C-level D-level, like give us the low rent guys, because then you have the most freedom, you know?


Rosie Knight Yeah, for sure.


Jessica Gao Yeah. Well, also, like a you have the most like the highest probability that it would be available that they don’t want, like, you know, create it, that Marvel isn’t already doing some sort of like trilogy about them. But two, also like you have more freedom because they’re not this like precious, revered, like have like a crazy fandom character. They’re characters that people are like, oh, I recognize I’m that’s funny that they’re using that, you know, or characters where they’re like, I don’t even know where they pull that from. And then you can really like kind of play around with them and, and come up with, like, funny stuff for them. So, you know, we pull like characters that we just thought would be funny and then the whole room would kind of go to work on coming up with like, what’s the funny reason they would be in legal trouble? Like.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Jessica Gao Specific to this character that would require a lawyer. And that’s where we went from there. And that’s really, really fun to pitch, you know, because at the end of the day, you’re just they’re characters. Whether or not they’re comp characters or sitcom characters, they’re just characters that you’re coming up with very like character specific stories for.


Jason Concepcion This seems very obvious to me, but. But I was wondering if you might spell it out for our audience, it seems. What is it that makes comedy writers like yourself? Geoff Love. Now, Zeb, it’s so the right person to develop and adapt these stories for TV, for film.


Jessica Gao I think it’s that well, I think it is. What I loved about Marvel movies was that they’re all they’re like even the serious ones. There is the sense of joy, you know, there is the sense of like of this love for this medium. And like, you know, you could be very reductive and say, like, oh, it’s like four kids or whatever. But but I think being able to see the way that like comics have these like strong themes and can tell these like very, like metaphor laden stories, you know, and kind of be a reflection of, of art, of the times and of people being able to, like, take that seriously, but also balance that with like, okay, but it’s still, you know, a person with superpowers or some guy who decided to dress up like a frog, you know, like I want to kind of balance that and like treat it like with the right level of seriousness. Like these characters are taking their lives seriously, you know? So we respect that, but we also understand that it’s inherently a little silly and lighthearted, you know? And also the stakes on our show are very low. It’s not it’s not like half of humanity is going to die. It’s like, well, is this guy going to have to pay, like, payout a lot of settlement, you know?


Rosie Knight Mm hmm. Yeah, in that way, actually, it kind of seems wild that there hasn’t been, like, a superhero sitcom. Like, this seems like the perfect balance. So could you talk a little bit about that choice and going? Obviously, it makes so much sense for She-Hulk, but why was that? How did you know that was the right pitch?


Jessica Gao Well, I come from writing for TV comedy, so, so I was always going to do comedy. I just I don’t write dramas, you know. So I was always going to be a comedy. But I think, like She-Hulk of all characters is like. So I mean, the most iconic She-Hulk runs are so like fun and light, you know, and funny. So I think, like, it’s. That’s just what’s true to the character.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Okay, here we go. We’re going to we’re going to hit you now with the questions that we’re pretty sure you can’t answer, but we’re going to try.


Jessica Gao Let’s see how good my poker face is.


Jason Concepcion Adamantium needle at the end?


Jessica Gao Yes. No. I’m saying yes. What’s the question? What’s the question?


Jason Concepcion Is that? Is that? Sorry. Is that an adamantium needle?


Jessica Gao No.


Jason Concepcion Okay. Wow. Oh, interesting. Rosie.


Jessica Gao We’re not talking about Adamantium on the show at all.


Rosie Knight There’s no talking about it. But you know.


Jason Concepcion Yes. Here’s it. It’s a guess. We here is why we guess that because of the Hulk’s history with Adamantium, you know, it’s always the only solution to be like, how do we turn him. To hold back it or get his blood or turn it back in a banner? We got to hit him. What’s the only thing that compares to skin is an adamantium needle. And it made us it made a very satisfying synecdoche dish sound, which is why we thought that.


Rosie Knight Well, that’s good. I mean, it’s rare to get a conclusive answer, so I’m very excited about that. Okay. So Baroness Blood, a.k.a. Mr. Immortal’s wife.


Jason Concepcion Potentially.


Rosie Knight Potentially. I mean, so Baroness Cromwell is his ex-wife, is that does that mean was he married to a vampire? I feel like it would make sense because he’s immortal. But was that or was that just like a fun name pull.


Jessica Gao That was just a fun name. We don’t know which. We don’t know who this person is that he was married to.


Jason Concepcion Who? Okay. It obviously you’ve had a lot of fun over this season with like names that are one letter off from names that we recognize. Dohnny Blaze, perhaps Dohnny Blaze, for instance, is a fantastic.


Rosie Knight Iconic.


Jason Concepcion And then at the end of this episode, you know, we see that that secret lab where they’re working to collect Jen’s blood, we see it chat on a screen, a computer message from someone named Hulk King, which seems like very specifically one letter off from Hulk. Hulk Ling is is that another Donnie Blaze? Johnny Blaze, Hulk King. Hulk Ling, is that another one of those Donnie Blaze situations?


Jessica Gao What I will say is you have to think about this, the world of the show as this is a world where people are aware of all these kind of superheroes, beings, villains, aliens. Everyone’s aware that these types of people exist. So you have to think like there are people in this world who are like our world fans.


Jason Concepcion I love that.


Jessica Gao You know, people who are into like fan fiction, people who are modeling themselves after these people. You know, people who know like the name Hulk and are, you know, coming up with like coming up with just a screen name that is a reflection of what they’re interested in and who they’re interested in.


Rosie Knight I mean, this is less of a this is less of a spoiler question, but links to the the Hulk King moment. Could you talk a little bit about introducing the Intelligentsia? Is this kind of like MRA website and how that plays into how well you guys kind of preemptively joked about what you knew the response to the show would be?


Jessica Gao Yeah. I mean, I think it just we I mean, we had our writers room and when we started our writers room in 2019, that’s how long ago we, you know, we started writing the show. So, I mean, it truly preempts a lot of the stuff because we knew I mean, I think it just goes to show how completely unoriginal and tired and boring.


Jason Concepcion Absolutely.


Jessica Gao These guys are. You know that three years ago we could predict like exactly what they were going to say, like fuckiing get a new song, man. And it’s just, I mean, it’s it’s funny, but it’s also sad. Yeah. It’s like it’s so accurate and also that it is so common and so predictable that we could this accurately, like, just pull it out, you know, because it’s not it’s not really it is specific to the show, but it also isn’t like that type of like, like hate and like stupidity is not specific to this show only, you know, it’s so prevalent that that’s why we were able to just know exactly, you know. So it was very funny the when the show premiered, seeing all the responses where I was like, You just wait till the third episode comes because the little troll inside of me was also giggling like.


Rosie Knight Trolling the trolls, baby.


Jason Concepcion Well, Jessica, this has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for joining us.


Jessica Gao Thanks for having me. This was great.


Rosie Knight That was such a joy. Thank you.


Jason Concepcion And these folks were stepping out of the airlock onto the streets of Ferrix. Beautiful company Town Feerrix for the first three episodes of Andor, written by Tony Gilroy, directed by Toby Haynes. Again, we just want to touch on this, these episodes because we want to give everybody time to process them and to really digest them. And then we’re going to be talking about it regularly as that as the series progresses. But first off, Rosie, what are your thoughts?


Rosie Knight So I thought is is very beautiful. I’m happy. I’d love to see Diego back. You know, we’re big fans of Rogue One on this show.


Jason Concepcion Huge fans. Huge, huge fans of Rogue One.


Rosie Knight So, yeah, I love the the landscape. I love that it’s not a nostalgia fueled show. I think we’ve all talked about this. People in the Discord have been talking about this. This is a show that is almost has a similarity to Lord of the Rings and that the first episode may be a little bit homework heavy, a little bit introductory heavy, but you get those three episodes. So by the end you really kind of dived in. So yeah, I always like a good show. I I’m a big fan of Tony Gilroy, who they bring in to save everything. So I’m really happy to see him getting to have this space to do this. I do have some moments that like bumped me though, so I’m excited to talk to you about it.


Jason Concepcion So I to. I think it looks absolutely like jaw dropping stunning action like the volume is doing. Incredible or clearly I think they shot on location somewhere. It looks amazing. I. You know, Rogue One is probably my favorite Star Wars movie. And I think the the vibe of Rogue One, which is. Which kind of recontextualized the part of the impact of the original Star Wars as a as a flipped allegory to the Vietnam War, you know, in which, you know, scrappy rebels take on this superpower with weapons of mass destruction and actually defeat it. Rogue One took that and brought it into the 21st century with an allegory that essentially says that acknowledged the power of the kind of like freedom fighter narrative. You know, you had you had these you had these rebels fighting to defend a holy city with rare natural resources that were being exploited by a superpower. You know, it’s like this. It’s the grievances of the Middle East with regards to the United States as empire, but mixed up and put back, you know, and and digested back and given back to us as a Star Wars story. I think that was part of like what really gave it its power. And I think Andor is similarly continuing to do that same thing, which is taking really, really provocative ideas and saying, okay, at what level does violent resistance to corporate power become morally acceptable? At what point does violent resistance to the security state become while clearly illegal, morally acceptable? At what point does the destruction of the environment warrant a morally, potentially violent response? And those ideas are really, really, really just very, very interesting and kind of like radical to explore in the context of Star Wars.


Rosie Knight Especially right now.


Jason Concepcion Right now. And I think that part of it has me absolutely hooked. Here is where is the thing that bumps me as well? I do bump on certain things. One. And this is all with the caveat that we need more context and I need to see where this is going.


Rosie Knight You know, Andor is 12 episodes long. So literally a quarter of the way through the show, there is a lot that we can still discover, but we both definitely got caught on a couple of the same things.


Jason Concepcion The kind of like reframing of. And in a story about indigenous people fighting against a technological colonial foe. Made me feel a little bit weird, that being Diego’s back story. Just not weird in that the idea of doing it. But the way they presented it makes me maybe a tad uneasy if if I don’t know where it’s going at this point. I’m like, it’s definitely something. I’m like, Hmm, I wonder where this is going because this is either like, again, another super, super radical theme in detail in the context of a Star Wars show or or maybe a little bit of a miss.


Rosie Knight Yeah, I totally agree. I feel like. I love to see. We’re living in an age right now where there’s finally we’re getting a lot of really brilliant black indigenous storytelling in a mainstream, accessible space. The storytelling has always been there, but now it’s getting a platform, whether it’s like, you know, Reservation Dogs, Blood Quantum, like one of my favorite movies from the last few years. There’s, there’s a lot of great stuff being made. Saying that, I, I too wonder, I love the notion of an indigenous exploring an indigenous culture in Star Wars. That’s incredible.


Jason Concepcion Want to do that, I love that.


Rosie Knight Yeah, me too. I, I personally. My first feeling about it was like, this could have been the prequel to just see, so we could have spent time there and got to know them. And it wasn’t so much of just kind of flashback to trauma, which is a lot of what we’re getting right now. So I’m I’m interested in that. You know what I feel like in a post Wakandan world let’s say. I think that fantasy and sci fi and ideas of indigenous populations in sci fi and fantasy. I feel like I want to see where they’re going with this idea of like nature versus technology. Because I feel like in the Star Wars world that indigenous culture could have been like a very highly. It could have been represented differently in a way that embraces both nature and sci fi that would have felt maybe a little bit less simplistic.


Jason Concepcion Really, the main thing for me is the decision to not. Have us understand what they are saying.


Rosie Knight Yes. That’s the biggest.


Jason Concepcion Felt like an unnecessary othering to united like, you know, for lack of a better, you know, more subtle phrase of a people that doesn’t really occur in Star Wars, usually. Usually it’s like especially if this is like the main character that you want us to empathize and understand what what a particular ethnicity or a people or a race or an alien group or androids are saying. And you want to. And I guess you could say, well, they they don’t subtitle the droids. Fine


Rosie Knight But people translate what they’re saying by telling them what they say.


Jason Concepcion They translate it right back.


Rosie Knight I will also say it’s very different than say I remember, you know, when West Side Story came out, the Steven Spielberg one, there’s a lot of unsubtitled Spanish in that. And and I thought that that’s actually really interesting and cool because you’re basically allowing Spanish speakers to experience part of the film that non Spanish speakers can’t. And that is an interesting subversion of how English speaking is usually non subtitled. But this is a I just double checked because I wanted to be sure, but this is a made up language. It’s Kenari. Yeah. So I don’t in that way understand why they don’t again subtitle.


Jason Concepcion I want to see where it’s going. And then the other the other thing because again, I think the idea again as you said, presenting an indigenous people through the lens of Star Wars and exploring their culture, I think is there’s nothing inherently weird or wrong about that. In fact, it’s fascinating. And and and an idea I’d love to dive into. I also think it’s really fascinating and radical to explore the idea of. Of. What an indigenous people could do. To defend themselves. That would be morally right, considering the encroachment on their spaces, which is clearly an idea that this show is exploring when when young Andor comes to the edge of that great mining pit and sees what’s being done to his planet, there is an anger and a defiance that flashes in his eyes. And it’s the same anger and defiance that flashes in his eyes as he as an older man throughout the episodes that we see. And I think it draws a through line there of this idea of how much. And he says, you know, no one would expect a person like me to be the one who gets you paraphrasing. Now, the thing he says in the trailer in other places. But I think that there’s that throughline there of how much does does a people have to put up with before it’s okay for them to fight back? And I think that’s clearly an idea that this show is presenting, and it’s a really interesting idea. That said.


Rosie Knight I think I just want to jump on that just quickly because know the next thing, please. I totally agree with you. I totally agree with you. I just the other thing that kind of gets to me a little bit about it. Yeah. Is like. I’d love that because I love radical ideas of struggle. The sad thing is, in this case is like, wouldn’t it have been? I know it doesn’t work because we have to have an and have Cassie and some kind of loss. But like, couldn’t we imagine a world where an indigenous people fought back and like won because it’s a utopian Star Wars style space where you’re imagining it? Also, like, the other thing that I find interesting in the context and like we said, I’m very interested to see where it goes because this could all be very intentional and be kind of expanded on or explored or excavated as we go through. But also like, you know, who never worried at any point about whether killing people was right in Star Wars. Like every white person who’s ever in Star Wars who just blows stuff up and kills people and is seen as a hero. So I just I wonder I want to see that moral. I want to know why the moral weight is so heavy on Cassian because the things that he is fighting against are arguably so much more obviously deserving of rebellion or revolution. But again.


Jason Concepcion That’s a good point


Rosie Knight That could definitely be something that we see expanded on as the show goes forward. There are a lot of points here where if these moments that we’re talking about. And are about to talk about another one are intentional and get explored and extrapolated on. And that could be a really, really radical space in the Star Wars universe or like, you know, you were saying. If not, then it could be there’s a chance they could end up being like a bit of a missed opportunity.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. And so I think the thing that bump me really the hardest is at the end of the and again, this could be really interesting and I’m holding out. Yeah. I can’t wait to see more to see how this, you know, reframes the context potentially. Marva, who, you know, has followed this ship that crashed on canary big, is scavenging whatever kind of tech and different stuff that they have. And they want to get out before the republic answers and they come across this young indigenous person who is Cassian Andor. Young Cassian Andor doesn’t have that name yet, of course, and they’re concerned that. You know, the republic’s going to show up and everybody’s going to be potentially facing, you know, real danger that could end up with the extinction of this tribe, I guess, is with they’re concerned. And so Marva. Kidnaps. You know, like, let’s just say what it is. Kidnaps Cassian and takes them away on her spaceship. And so my question is this is are we framing that as this like unambiguously good rescue, or is there necessarily, in my mind, necessary ambiguity to this action? Because while I don’t doubt that Marvin thinks I’m saving this young man’s life, what is functionally happening is you are kidnaping him, taking him away from his tribe, from his people, from his culture, from his entire world. Because you’re concerned that he is in danger and that may or may not be true, but also, like, that’s not your role.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And the way that you just frame that.


Jason Concepcion That’s not your responsibility.


Rosie Knight I think it’s very clear. Fingers crossed. That seems to be a even just in the way you frame it, the way you speak about it, seems like the right route to go is to use that as an analogous conversation about the times that that has happened in real life. The kidnaping of indigenous children. Of children from a globe. The global community. The global majority. And seeing and having that as like we’re doing something good. And then we know that that is obviously historically something that has become very horrific and a just a way of exploiting children and harming children. So it feels to me like I don’t think it’s is going to be like, oh, mother is, you know, an evil person. But I do think that could definitely be that should be a depth and a conversation between mother and between Cassian about the realities of what she did and how that shifted the. The scope of his life and the way that his life turned out.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, because it’s definitely, you know, again, he may very well be in danger. You know, we’re seeing a side through their eyes, through Marva’s eyes of the republic that is, you know, less. Good. Then we’re. We’re probably used to. And certainly more exploitive of of cultures and planets that aren’t technologically advanced or part of the republic writ large. But. Again. She just, like, snatches him up without any kind of.


Rosie Knight Pain.


Jason Concepcion Like this. Would this be okay? Yeah. Who are your people? Do you have family here? Who are. Who is your family here? And kidnaps him from what is essentially a utopian planet that I mean, this is another try. This is an age old trope, right. Of the yeah. Of the the the people who are less technologically advanced live in this more egalitarian, just perfect society.


Rosie Knight Yes. Like the peaceful. And I that’s another thing where I wonder if there was a a techno jungle twist or some kind of. Exploration that could have maybe potentially or might still happen. We’ve only seen site and this is the it’s been in flashbacks so we might learn that there is more to it. But like you said, that segment to me definitely had the feeling of that age old trope. It didn’t necessarily feel like it was adding anything to because let’s be real. I saw, like a lot of people have said this, but like how many indigenous cultures have we seen been destroyed in Star Wars? So many.


Jason Concepcion So many. It’s not the first one.


Rosie Knight It’s not the first one.


Jason Concepcion And it’s like, R,I,P. to the Ewoks.


Rosie Knight So we like to that. Why it works like is is that necessarily like a new story that needs to be told in the Star Wars universe, hopefully as Cassian, because this is a very slow burn show as well. So hopefully as it moves forward, we’re going to get to see that. That conversation change. But I would like to know about. Not subtitling the cannery. The more I think about it, the more I’m like, is is that is that going to change? Is that I think on the on our version there was no. Captions. But I think on the final version it says speaking canary.


Jason Concepcion The other thing that I think makes it an interesting choice to me, these are flashbacks. How are we getting here? We’re getting the presentation is these are Cassian’s reminiscences and and by choice they are. Not allowing us that perspective that he has where he understands what these people are saying. They’re not letting us in there. So even, you know, from that perspective of a storytelling choice, of a flashback, from the perspective of a character, it’s it’s a little puzzling to me.


Rosie Knight That’s a really great point.


Jason Concepcion People might listen to this conversation to be like they didn’t like it. I do love that. Like. Yes. And here and the fact that we are able to have these really like these are big conversations about big ideas through the context of Star Wars is why I like Rogue One. Why I think this is certainly the most interesting to discuss right now in terms of like ideas and themes and ideas about morality and ideas about like, you know, about struggle, period. Having those conversations through this show. It is really fascinating because, again, this is a show that is straight up like. Okay. If it it it presents this idea to you and says that this is acceptable if the powers of policing fuze with corporate interest.


Rosie Knight It sounds familiar.


Jason Concepcion It is. It is okay to resist that violently. That’s a kind of radical idea to put forward. And it’s putting forward it putting it forward in the context of it. Star Wars show. And I think that’s a that’s like pretty amazing. Yeah.


Rosie Knight And also as well, I think something that you bring up that’s really great there is how this carries on the tradition of Star Wars as like a radical analogy and star like, look, we know what the empire is based on in Star Wars. It’s based on Nazis. It’s a response to fascistic dictatorships that are not afraid to kill and exploit. And the story that was you need to stand up against those. Those must be stopped. And it doesn’t matter if there’s only one of you who is standing up, you can make a difference because you will find other people. So now you know, that movie came out in the late seventies. The original star was like now in 2022, to have a show that’s like, by the way, if the police.


Jason Concepcion Resist the Nazis.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And also saying, like, we’re going to make it more specific. If the police and evil corporations are destroying your life and your livelihood and your towns, it’s actually okay to not be okay with that and to want to resist it. That is a very cool. Reconsideration and updating and making the message far more specific than just like the bad guy.


Jason Concepcion And I love I mean, there’s a real class struggle aspect to this, too, like the fact that we don’t have royalty, galactic royalty or lords, you know, Sith Lords, like running around making the choices. This is the people who are closer to the earth who are working the way, you know, Luthan and Cassian have that conversation you know when they’re meeting for the first time potentially and then have the handoff of the device of the, of the, the navigation system and they kind of in a roundabout way start talking about the empire. And Luthan’s like, yeah, they’re, they’re arrogant, aren’t they? Like, they don’t understand how mad we are at that. Yeah. They, they just, they’re fat and happy and they, and they’re just using their power to push everyone around like they don’t understand, like, what they’re doing. They don’t understand the anger they’re engendering. That was a that felt like a really that’s an amazing thing to to watch happen to watch this like rebellion start to coalesce not at the highest levels, but the grassroots.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Anger at the empire that actually the leadership then harnessed in order to fight their war.


Rosie Knight It’s what makes Rogue One so special is you literally watch a group of marginalized people, predominantly people of color, die in order to spark the rebellion in a very literal sense where they need. Without them, you would never have the blueprints that allowed the rest of the Star Wars franchise to happen. So everybody dies. All these people of color die. These people from all over the planet, from all different places, all over the galaxy. And then at the end, Princess Leia of Space Royal has the blueprints. You know, that is the. That’s what’s so radical about Rogue One is like who dies so that the people in charge can fight the war and win the war. Right. And that’s what I think is very interesting with Cassian is like we’re coming at it from this viewpoint of like, we want this to be the best version of this story, that that makes the most of the space that it’s created because Rogue One really was this really radical space.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight And it’s kind of it’s very interesting to see that explored here, especially the notion of a of a corporate town, you know, something, a business town, which is something that, you know, we see. And again, that’s very relevant in 2022.


Jason Concepcion There’s also I mean, they gave Cassian a real kind of like Han Solo when he shoots those 2 p.m. employees. There’s a look that flashes across his face. And it’s definitely not regret that he just killed two people. It’s. Fuck. Now I got to deal with this. Yeah, you know, and. That is a. I love that they gave him that kind of characteristic. Like, that’s the kind of character we’re dealing with. Yeah. Han Solo never. Han Solo pulled the trigger on Greedo.


Rosie Knight Oh, yeah. No question. First


Jason Concepcion Never thought about it again.


Rosie Knight Also, yeah. He just did that because he owed him some money too. Like it wasn’t even a matter of survival. Yeah. So. Okay. So something I found really interesting as well, like. In that context. The one thing that really hooked me was. They do that great thing, as so many storytellers do, where there’s a moment that everything hinges on and in this, it is the PM, you know, the kind of head of PM. There’s a young guy, Cyril Khan. Again, I’ll be interested to see where they go with that. I feel like he was queer coded and he is a villain. So, you know, we’ll see where that leads. But what I found was really interesting is his boss, who is obviously corrupt and is in this one, he was just like. Just let it go, man. They weren’t meant to be.


Jason Concepcion Just let it go.


Rosie Knight They got in the wrong fight with the wrong person. And I was like, wow, that. I just thought that was such a interesting moment where there’s a different version of this story where. They never look for Cassian. It never leads down that way. And but there’s this one villainous guy who, for some reason that we’re still kind of waiting to find out, has this. Fervent hatred of what happens and needs the needs to solve the crime. You know, and I’m interested to see where that goes. But I really thought that was one of the most interesting choices was when the kind of corrupt boss of PM was or the security kind of core post was like, You know what, they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like, sorry to those men like you shouldn’t. I thought that was really interesting.


Jason Concepcion I did too.


Rosie Knight Character point that feels much, again, much more grounded in reality than this idea of the well-put together empire who will take down anyone who dares to question them. This is real people. In the beginnings of what kind of walking in the ground work. This depressing grunt work of this kind of fascistic empire is very interesting.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, this is a show that I’m super excited about continuing to talk about because the ideas here are just so, so huge. Big thank you to Jessica Gow for joining us. And of course, a big thank you to Rosie Knight for co-hosting X-ray Vision today. Rosie, more plugs, what have you to plug.


Rosie Knight You can find me Rosie Marks on Instagram and Letterboxd. That’s also in the show notes. You can also find my articles and stuff like that in the show notes. I will hopefully have some more exciting comic book news coming soon. And obviously you can always have me here with you.


Jason Concepcion Catch the next episode on September 30th and subscribe to the show on YouTube. Please follow us on at XRV Pod on Twitter. And don’t forget in the show notes is our link to the Discord. Check out the Discord. Come hang out with us. Come hang out with the community’s lots of friendly, generous and really smart people there. Rosie and I are active there all the time. Don’t forget, send your House of the Dragon questions to And if you want to hear our full conversation this week on House of the Dragon and Rings of Power, check out the the first episode should be in Your Feed, which we have already released. If you’re listening to this one, that one is out as well. We want your five star reviews. Give us those five star ratings on your podcast platform of choice. Here’s a great one from Smurtilek: Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight are crushing it. Well, the energy, this podcast gives super fun commentary on the industry and unique insights and fantastic reviews, reactions and the latest air culture shows and movies. Thank you so much, Smurtilek.


Rosie Knight Thank you. How nice.


Jason Concepcion Thank you. X-ray Vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin. The show is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Our editing and sound design is by Vasillis Fotopoulos. Delon Villanueva and Matt deGroot provide video production support. Alex Reliford handles social media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for our theme Music. See you next time, everybody.