There’s no doubt about it: Marvel rules the cinematic box office at the moment. But while Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has been abso-bloody-lutely incredible ever since Hydra first reared it head(s) thanks to the reveals of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the same claim to rulership cannot be made about the TV domain. Yet. Agents is about to take a mid-season break, during which they will tag in Agent Carter in their place, but as cool as the adventures of Hayley Atwell’s 1950’s ball-busting super spy is, its Marvel’s collaboration with Netflix that holds the most promise.
They’ve teamed up with the media streaming service to bring to life four new “street level” superhero series in Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, all of which will lead up to a big crossover mini-series titled The Defenders. Daredevil is already well into production with Charlie Cox playing the titular Man Without Fear, but we’ve heard nothing about the other three series. Now, it appears, we at least have an idea of who Marvel are looking at to lead their next two series as superhero power couple Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
Deadline are reporting that Alexandra Daddario (True Detective, Percy Jackson), Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad, Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies, I Am Number Four) and Jessica De Gouw (Arrow, Dracula) have all been invited to test for the lead in Jessica Jones. In the comics, Jones started out as one of Peter Parker aka Spider-Man’s high school classmates, who gets powers of super strength and flight after she’s involved in a car accident with a military convoy transporting – yep, you guessed it – experimental chemicals. She initially called herself Jewel and strapped on some spandex to do the superhero thing, but soon finds herself neck deep in personal tragedy as a result of her decision. In the Brian Michael Bendis penned “Alias” mini-series – which is said to be the biggest influence for the show – she hangs up her superhero boots after suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and opens a private detective agency, just helping out normal people with normal crimes (with occasional super powered assistance, of course).
She would eventually also marry and have a child with Luke Cage, another “street level” hero. Cage was a reformed street thug who ended in up prison after being framed by one of his ex-fellow gang members. While incarcerated, he is picked as the test subject for an experimental process based on the same Super Soldier serum that gave Captain America his powers. The experiment leaves Cage with enhanced strength and unbreakable skin. He uses his newfound powers to escape prison, get justice for being setup, then grow an afro, wear a silver tiara and call himself Power Man. Seriously. Luckily though that phase passes and he becomes the badass Luke Cage who would eventually go on to lead his own team of Avengers.
According to reports, Mike Colter (Halo: Nightfall, The Following), Lance Gross (Tyler Perry’s House of Payne) and Cleo Anthony (Divergent, Transparent), are being looked at to portray Cage in 6 or 7 episodes of Jessica Jones before then spinning off into his own series. I’m not really familiar with either Gross or Anthony’s work, but even if that weren’t the case, I would still give Colter the nod here on appearance and physical presence alone. He’s also about to score some major genre points by starring in Microsoft’s live-action Halo series, so he will definitely have some momentum behind him.
As for the ladies, well as a hot-blooded heterosexual male who watched episode two of True Detective, my knee-jerk reaction (I said knee!) would obviously be Alexandra Daddario. She is of course pretty familiar with the world of superpowered beings as she also starred in the Percy Jackson movies, but I don’t think she’s quite right for the role. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the buxom beauty may have too much of a “Wow” factor to play the more down-to-earth Jessica Jones. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but this would be like buying a Porsche so that you can make it look like a VW Beetle.
Ritter comes from a comedy background and has shown that she can go to some very dark places, but I think she does her best work when her quirkiness factor is dialled up to 11, something which probably won’t happen here. De Gouw already has the built-in comic book street cred, playing Helena Bertinelli aka The Huntress in CW’s Arrow, but I’ve admittedly never quite bought into her emotional story on that show. If she could step up that part of her game though, she could definitely be in with a real chance.
But if I had to pick one of these ladies for the role, Teresa Palmer would be the one: She is by far the best physical match to Jones, she’s proven her acting range showing off her ass-kicking, emotionally serious and more whimsical sides. She’s also done quite a few genre pics featuring folks with super powers (in I Am Number Four she was one of them, to pretty decent effect) which will all count in her favour.
It has to be said though that all of this is still very early in the casting process; none of these people could even still be in consideration come a month from now. Marvel haven’t given any dates for these series yet other than pencilling in the 13-episode Daredevil for a May 2015 bow. That would mean that if Marvel still wanted to release Jessica Jones in next year, it probably only be in the last quarter of the year, meaning that Luke Cage‘s own 13-episode run would possibly only begin in mid-2016 at best. That’s still a long way off, and a lot can happen in that time. Hopefully one of those things happening is me finally hearing anything about Iron Fist, which is by the show I’m looking forward to the most of the four. I mean, who doesn’t love kung-fu superheroes that can punch a flaming hole through a dragon’s chest?
Last Updated: November 21, 2014