Monday, July 20, 2015

Looking Ahead to Jessica Jones Season 1

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Now that I’m finished with my reviews of Daredevil season 1 and thoughts for Daredevil season 2, it’s time to start looking ahead to the next Marvel Netflix series to premiere:  Jessica Jones.  There is still no definite release date for Jessica Jones season 1, but the best guess I’ve been able to find is either IMDb, which sets the release date as “December 2015,” or a couple other places which suggested September (I think).  Is one of those correct?  I don’t know, but I hope it will be some time this year.  My hope is that after a year or 2 of releasing 2 Netflix seasons per year, Marvel will be ready in either 2016 or 2017 to start releasing 3 per year.  This would give us The Defenders season 1 in 2017, and the possibility of several more Netflix series, culminating with The Defenders season 2 in 2019, to coincide with Avengers: Infinity War Part 2.

But enough of my speculation; here’s what I want to see in Jessica Jones season 1!

Bring in some of the Daredevil supporting characters

This series needs to introduce a lot of its own supporting characters—and it is, with Luke Cage, Patsy Walker (aka Hellcat), and several others appearing.  However, because all the Marvel Netflix series are taking place in the same (Marvel Cinematic) universe, and all within the same neighborhood to boot, it would be surprising for them not to bump into a few of the same people.

They don’t need to bring back everyone, but if for whatever reason Jessica Jones needs a lawyer, Matt, Foggy, and Marci are all good candidates.  Jessica and Luke may not personally need an armorer like Melvin Potter, but if one of their villains does, Melvin Potter would fit in well there.  Likewise, the New York Bulletin could publish stories about Jessica and Luke’s exploits during the season.

I’m not looking for a lot, just some subtle (or not-so-subtle) nods to the fact that all of this is happening in the same universe and the same area.

Let Jessica Jones fly

This should be a no-brainer.  Of all the heroes we’ve met so far, several of them have had the ability to fly.  However, just about none of them can do so by themselves.  Thus far, Thor has consistently needed Mjolnir to fly in the movies.  Iron Man, War Machine, Falcon, and Star Lord all use some form of technology to fly.  Scarlet Witch flies/hovers using magic.  Vision is the only exception to that rule, as his vibranium-infused body gives him the ability to fly (somehow).  If Jessica Jones can fly unaided as one of the abilities given her by the chemical spill that gave her powers, that will really set her apart from the other heroes we’ve seen in the MCU—at least in terms of powers—and pave the way for other heroes like Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, to do so in the future.

Another memorable villain like Fisk

David Tennant has been cast to play Zebediah Killgrave, aka the Purple Man, a villain from Jessica Jones’ past who is coming back after her.  In this season, he should be every bit as well developed as Wilson Fisk was in Daredevil season 1.  Fisk was a sympathetic villain:  we watched all of the past trauma that put him in the position to become New York’s Kingpin of Crime.  We could see his vision for the city—a vision that may have been better than Matt Murdock’s (or at least better developed).

Killgrave shouldn’t be a villain cut from the same mold as Fisk.  However, over the course of 13 episodes we should get to know him as well as we got to know Fisk.  This series should show us everything he did to Jessica, and perhaps give us a reason for his insanity.  I don’t think we need to sympathize with the Purple Man for Jessica Jones to have succeeded, but we do need to understand him and know just why we’re supposed to hate him.

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A real human relationship between Jessica and Luke

DC’s New 52 has (had) its own “Power Couple” with Superman and Wonder Woman.  However, even before the two of them became a couple, Marvel already had Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.  Both of them are superheroes, though Jessica regularly retires from being a superhero for one reason or another.  In the comics, they even have a daughter together—they actually got married because Jessica was pregnant.

How much of this relationship is brought into the series will be up to the show runners to decide.  But what I want to see—and I think a lot of people want to see—is a very relatable relationship.  It shouldn’t be excessively dysfunctional—even in the comics it is never excessively dysfunctional once they move past the casual sex stage of their relationship.  At the same time, it shouldn’t be excessively idealized—which might actually be worse.  Their relationship in the series should be something that the average viewer can relate with.

And on that same subject, I don’t want to see gratuitous nudity or sex in the series.  Just because they are in a relationship does not mean that their every-other scene together should involve sex.  In fact, I wouldn’t mind it if for the most part we don’t even see them having sex; we see suggestions that they are having sex, but don’t actually see them doing it.  I realize that with a (presumed) TV-MA rating they can probably get away with a lot more sexual content, but the story needs to be able to stand on its own merits without relying on the main character having a lot of sex and walking around topless to keep viewers engaged.

Exploration of Jessica’s superhero past

In the comic series on which this season is reportedly to be based, Jessica is trying to cope with a major trauma from her past which forced her to leave the superhero life.  While taking with Luke Cage about everything that happened, she explains her history and how it led to her decision to open a detective agency.

Considering that most of that back story consisted of the two of them sitting around a table talking, I don’t think they are going to take the comic book and strictly adapt it for TV.  However, Daredevil was able to fill in a lot of Matt’s back story—including the incident that gave him his powers, his first training with Stick, and his first night in the mask—through flashbacks that tied into the events of the present.  This kind of thing would probably work very well for Jessica’s back story, also.  Considering that the super villain who (in the comics) caused her to quit as a hero is going to be the villain for this season, the stage is already being set for her original hero career to be explored.

Depending on the timeline they decide to establish for her, they could even tie Jessica’s history into some of the major events of the MCU.  Did the Chitauri invasion happen during Jessica’s hero career?  If so, then perhaps she was involved with fighting them off in Hell’s Kitchen while the Avengers focused all their attention on Midtown.  If it was after she hung up the suit, then perhaps the Chitauri invasion made her question her decision to retire.  That would be a good way to show her dilemma with having incredible powers but finding herself unwilling to use them, even when the world is in danger.  Could this—and the subsequent Avengers actions—come back in the present to push her in the direction of returning to the hero life?  This would be a good way to tie the Defenders into the major events of the MCU.

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Civil War

I’m putting this one last because I don’t really want it to be a major theme in Jessica Jones season 1.  However, there’s a Civil War coming up, and it’s going to be a big deal.  Before then there are a few other shows coming out in addition to Jessica Jones season 1—Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 3, Daredevil season 2 (speculated), and Agent Carter season 2 (which can’t do too much to set up Civil War), but Marvel needs to lay as much groundwork for Civil War in all of these as possible.  After all, the Marvel Civil War was a massive event that drew all of the teams and heroes in the Marvel Universe into it in some way, shape or form.  I certainly think that the movie can set up the Civil War adequately (especially after Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man introduced a few of the themes), but to really do it justice, I think the groundwork for it needs to be laid well in advance through all the media at Marvel’s disposal.  And what better way to do that than by starting with the second TV series to premiere in Phase 3:  Jessica Jones?

It can be as simple as her reading a newspaper article about Ultron that calls for people like Tony Stark to be subject to regulations.  It can be a police officer demanding to know by what authority Jessica and Luke fight crime.  Regardless of how Civil War is set up in Jessica Jones, I think it needs to show up to some extent.


Jessica Jones will not be the first female-led series/movie in the MCU—that honor goes to Agent Carter.  However, it will still be important as the first series/movie led by a female superhero.  Add to this the fact that this series will be following up one of the best Marvel series/movies to-date in Daredevil season 1 and be on the same platform as it, and you can see why it is important for Jessica Jones to get things right.  I can’t wait to see this series be released (hopefully this year), and I am sure that they will get it right.

What are you looking for from Jessica Jones?  Let me know in the comments!

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