Movies & Television

What is Rule 63? Explore the Meaning Behind She-Hulk Gender Swap

Marvel fans went without a She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode this week because of Season 1’s conclusion, and in light of the show’s finale, the term ‘Rule 63’ is being thrown around the internet again and we explain what it means.

The Disney Plus series ended on a meta note, when She-Hulk exited her own show in order to change the ending, and Jennifer Walters’ debut has received controversy throughout its longevity.

Created by Jessica Gao for Disney+ and based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law follows Jennifer Walters’ transformation into the green superhero, starring Tatiana Maslany, Mark Ruffalo, Jameela Jamil, Tim Roth, and more.

She Hulk: Attorney At Law | Official Trailer | DisneyPlus Hotstar

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She Hulk: Attorney At Law | Official Trailer | DisneyPlus Hotstar
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What Does Rule 63 Mean?

Rule 63 is internet slang that states for every male character, there is a female counterpart, and the term is also referred to as a meme.

The rule also applies to female characters that have a male counterpart and the meme first came about in 2006 during the “Rules of the Internet”, which came from a Netiquette guide on 4chan.

In response to this guide, many rules were created out of mockery, Rule 63 being one of them, and it soon became a general term used within a number of fandoms.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law – Cr. Marvel Studios, Disney Plus.

Examples of Rule 63 Characters

The idea that a genderswapped version of any character exists largely pulls from fan art, fan fiction, or cosplay, as two genders of the same character rarely exist in official canon.

Genderswapping is also very popular within the anime and manga community, where fandoms will regularly conceptualize romantic, gender-swapped relationships.

An example of Rule 63 in action comes from the creation of the character Bowsette, which is a female, genderswapped version of the antagonist Bowser from the Super Mario franchise, and the creation quickly became a meme in 2018.

Genderswapping is also very popular in comic-book fandoms, like Marvel or DC, and the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, starring four female protagonists instead of four male, is another light example of Rule 63, despite the four female protagonists being different characters to the original.

Marvel Fans Once Thought She-Hulk Was a Rule 63 Incredible Hulk

It’s no secret that prior to She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premiering on Disney Plus, some Marvelites were convinced She-Hulk was a Rule 63 of The Incredible Hulk, created purely for the series.

In some respect, She-Hulk is a Rule 63 Hulk and a canon one at that, however, the character has her own comic-book series independent of The Incredible Hulk’s narrative, meaning she was not created as a direct female version of Bruce Banner.

Jennifer Walters is her own character with a fulfilled arc, and the Rule 63 debate only demonstrates the controversy around the show which ended up dividing audiences.

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is now streaming on Disney Plus.

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Jo Craig
@shingeekyjo

Being a pop culture writer and a proud geek of all trades, Jo loves to dissect fandoms and marvel at their insides. The entirety of The Lord of the Rings, superhero origins, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the Wings of Freedom, and the endless search for a sleepy Tyranitar are but a few of Jo's passions, with a penchant for contributing to the geek culture community.

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