– by David Kozlowski

Jessica Jones flipped the superhero genre on its head last year, and the results were unexpectedly awesome. Starring actress Krysten Ritter, this was our first female-led Marvel or DC movie or TV series in recent memory. Perhaps more important, the show dealt with mature topics like rape, PTSD, addiction, female empowerment, and interracial and lesbian relationships — bold, thematic steps for a genre too-long stuck in neutral. Fans and critics adored the show, which went on to win several impressive industry accolades, including a Primetime Emmy, Peabody and Hugo awards.

Jessica Jones exposed a distinctly gritty, noir version of the Marvel universe, told from a woman’s perspective. Ritter established herself as a smart, capable, and unrelenting anti-hero, whose physical superpowers were actually her least interesting aspect. The show also introduced longtime fan-favorite Luke Cage, whose own series launched late last year to near universal acclaim. One of the key successes of Season 1 was the supervillain Kilgrave, portrayed with charismatic, scenery-chewing fervor by veteran character actor David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) — many cite Tennant’s performance as the hands-down best villain in any Marvel film or TV series. 

The obvious question leading into Season 2 is: how in the world can they top Kilgrave?

Last week we reported that filming for Jessica Jones Season 2 has begun, with on-location shooting in downtown New York. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter, The O.C.) has kept plot and character developments closely guarded. However, we just got a pretty strong indication regarding at least one of Season 2’s antagonists. Actor Will Traval played NYPD officer Will Simpson, who is better known to Marvel comic fans as the drug-crazed, combat veteran Nuke — a character well-known to Daredevil and Captain America fans in the Marvel comics’ canon.

Yesterday, Traval dropped a pretty massive hint via Twitter, seeming to indicate his return to the series:

“Flying to #nyc tomorrow morning, can’t wait to see old friends and get me a slice #pizza #NewYork #love”

Simpson entered Jessica Jones Season 1 as a policeman under Kilgrave’s mind-control, sent to eliminate Jones, but later evolved as a tenuous ally. Toward the end the season, Simpson’s backstory emerged: he was a former military operative who participated in a clandestine, super-soldier program. Simpson soon spun out-of-control, consuming a series of red, white, and blue pills that dramatically enhanced his strength, but correspondingly degraded his sanity. There was strong indication that Simpson’s arc would continue and that he would be at least a significant adversary for Jones in Season 2, which now appears to be the case, if we read into Traval’s tweet. 

What makes Nuke interesting is that his combat-related PTSD and addiction to these colored pills provides counterpoint to Jones’ own issues with alcohol and rape-related PTSD. Both characters were also subjected to Kilgrave’s mind-manipulation, providing common ground for their upcoming interactions. It’s noteworthy that the comic’s version of Nuke, whose face is tattooed with an American flag, has been a tough out for both Daredevil and Captain America; it will be exciting to see where Rosenberg takes the character in Season 2. 

How would you feel about the potential emergence of Nuke as a central villain in Jessica Jones? Let us know in the comments down below!

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SOURCE: Will Traval (via Twitter)

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.