One of the unseen and often-unnoticed challenges in the Marvel Cinematic Universe has to do with keeping the characters consistent between films, seasons, and series. As much as I love Joss Whedon’s AVENGERS film, I maintain that the Loki in that film compared to the Loki in the first THOR film is night and day, and the reason is understandable. In THE AVENGERS, Loki needed to serve as a plot device — a catalyst for the Avengers to unite. As such, I needed to get off my high horse and accept that the film had different plans than to make him a sympathetic villain.
These same challenges affect the MCU in all its forms, including in the Netflix TV front, with shows like DAREDEVIL, LUKE CAGE, IRON FIST, DEFENDERS, and, of course, JESSICA JONES. Speaking of Jessica Jones, this is a character who will be popping up for the second time (barring any LUKE CAGE or IRON FIST cameo) MARVEL’S DEFENDERS, and from the sound of it, DEFENDERS showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez are very adamant to get the character right for the show. Luckily for us viewers, they work right across the hall from JESSICA JONES showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, Petrie explained at a mixer at this summer’s TV Critics’ Association press tour.
“Mel has had some really helpful thoughts. Mel has been f**king wonderful because she's in this position of being a fellow artist and letting us do what we do, but at the same time loving her character and being protective of her character and wanting us to get it right and wanting to guide us and help up, but also let us be free. And she was walked that tight-rope so beautifully.”
Ramirez and Petrie have the unenviable job of taking four of these characters (including Jessica), and absolutely nailing them for this huge crossover TV event. Whenever doing events like this, you’re bound to face some difficulties, since often times, you can’t really make huge changes to the characters or world, and there’s nothing worse than having a journey that results in no character arcs, as it gives a series a hollow feel.
Petrie clarified that “none of them are stopping their character arcs, they're just taking this incredible epic detour then going back into their own respective pools.”
Ramirez discussed writing dialogue for Jessica:
"It's been really nice because also we're fans of Jessica Jones. It's this weird feeling of the first time I wrote dialogue for Jessica, I was typing in my office, and I go, like, 'This is thrilling. Is it right? It's like, is it my Jessica? Is it your Jessica? Is it the Jessica? Is it Kristen's Jessica? Is it Marvel's? The answer is yes, all of those, as the character grows and expands, but we couldn't possibly move forward without Mel and without Kristen and their incredible relationship and their friendship and their collaboration. We just feel like we're swimming in the same stream."
Sure, it’s a difficult job, but, the nice thing for the showrunners is that they’re able to build off each other for each season. For example, Rosenberg wouldn’t necessarily continue the emotional journey from Season 1 of JESSICA JONES, but rather continue from where she left off in Season 1 of DEFENDERS. This can be the kiss of death if one hand isn't talking to another, but luckily for us, they clearly are, as Rosenberg explains.
"What's nice for us over on our side of the hall, is if we think -- we're still shaping what we want to do, but we're like, maybe we can set them up over in the DEFENDERS, let's go talk to Doug and Marco, and we're like, 'Hey, what do you think about this?' So it's nice," she said with a laugh, adding, "We've started gathering and thinking about where we're going. We have a big job in front of us. The bar was set pretty high."
And speaking of JESSICA JONES Season 2, what can we expect? Well, for starters, you can expect them to continue pulling from the comic (duh), but don’t expect them to retread the same ground.
"David Tennant's [Kilgrave], we'll never create that again. That is one of the great iconic characters played by a profoundly talented actor. The objective is not to match that, not to try to do that again.”
Like with any good TV show, it sounds like the next season will help to not only build Jessica’s own character, but to build all the supporting cast, including "some new characters that are only interesting in how they relate to our existing characters. We can really get into some very interesting aspects of their characters and where they're from, where they're going, all these things. I'm super excited about that."
So can we expect Trish Walker to go full Hellcat this season? Rosenberg was predictably vague on the matter.
"[There's] always the promise. I mean, for me, the character of Trish is so rich, Hellcat or not. She's already bad-ass. What's most interesting to me is their relationship. You know, that friendship, that sisterhood. That's the core of the show. That's the core relationship of the show."
Jessica Jones will return to the small screen next year in the Marvel/Netflix team-up series, DEFENDERS.
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