We've known for some time that Marvel Studios has become a big fan of pairing properties with creative artists that share certain key qualities with their protagonists. A film about a female superhero named Captain Marvel? Look for a strong female director. A film about Black Panther? Hire African-American director Ryan Coogler. This approach, which aims to appeal to advocates worried about equal representation when it comes to gender and racial equality in Hollywood, has now come in a huge way to Marvel's TV division with a key decision about the second season of Jessica Jones.
It was revealed over the weekend that the second season of the Marvel/Netflix venture Jessica Jones would be directed entirely by women.
Melissa Rosenberg, who serves as an executive producer and as the showrunner for Jessica Jones, delved a bit into how the decision came to be. According to a report by Variety, it began innocently enough. Rosenberg and her fellow producers had made it a priority to book female directors and then, somewhere along the way, someone suggested they just book women in all of the director slots for season 2. Rosenberg liked that idea, and so they ran with it.
Rosenberg says that she thinks producers have a responsibility these days to be inclusive, and so it's important to make "a conscious decision and it’s very important that showrunners do that."
When it comes to writers, it sounds like Rosenberg and her team didn't have any mandates. According to the Jessica Jones showrunner, what she looks for in a writer is where their voice comes from. "When I interview a writer, I’m less interested in what you’ve been doing professionally than I am in where you’re from, what your parents do, what’s your life experience, what are you bringing to the table personally?” Rosenberg said. “I don’t want a bunch of people who look and sound [like me] and have the experiences I have."
Of course, I can already hear this idea's detractors. "Since when does EQUALITY mean you purposely hire only ONE group?" And that's a fair point. But to that I would argue that we're still- sadly- in the early days of this fight for inclusion. So we're in a place where big, bold, sweeping moves like this are needed. Once this sort of thing becomes the new normal, then we can get to a place where studios and producers don't feel the need to make these somewhat forced-seeming decisions.
One day, when this decision isn't even newsworthy (because it's sad that it's even a story in 2016), these ham-fisted decisions won't be necessary.
What do you think of Jessica Jones season 2 being directed entirely by women?