Star Krysten Ritter and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg talk JESSICA JONES

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If you haven’t seen Marvel and Netflix’s Jessica Jones yet, you are seriously missing out. Though overall I found the comic book studio’s previous Netflix effort, Daredevil, just a tad bit better – hey, ninjas are always more awesome! – there’s just no denying how incredible this show is.

The tale of ex-superhero turned alcoholic private eye Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a grim noir tale that is incredibly dark and twisted, with some of the best character work – both for the incredibly flawed heroine as well as her sociopathic nemesis Killgrave (David Tennant) – that Marvel has ever done. And all that work is paying off as the show has been drawing almost universal praise from just about everybody that has seen it.

And speaking to Variety, star Krysten Ritter explained how relieving it is that the public and critics alike have embraced such a non-typical superhero tale, with such a broken lead character.

“I’m really thrilled, because I felt going in that this show had so much potential. It’s also kind of scary because it’s such a departure for Marvel. You’re kind of like on edge waiting to see what the response is. So the fact that people are responding so positively is a dream come true.”

“I don’t take it for granted that shows like this don’t come around very often. Roles like this don’t come around very often. Then audience-wise, getting your peers watching it, the industry watching it, and your family watching it, and a big audience – it kind of feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I’m just trying to enjoy it.”

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Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg is of course no stranger to writing unorthodox female characters, as she’s actually penned the Twilight movies. Movies that of course were not received as well critically, which is what makes Jessica Jones so rewarding.

“I had spent my entire career dying to find a character like this to write for. Having been in this business a long time, I know what it is to put your heart and soul into something and not have a response – or have a bad response – so it just makes you really appreciate it. And this really unusual. We’ve worked our asses off on this thing, so it’s incredibly gratifying.”

Rosenberg was especially satisfied that Jessica Jones’ often very mature themes and plot points – Killgrave has the power of mind control and used it to essentially turn Jessica into his superpowered sex slave until she escaped, leaving her a PTSD-ridden wreck – were invoking the type of conversations that she had hoped for.

“All the conversations I wanted to be happening around it are happening. The conversations about women in power, women sexuality, of rape, sexual abuse, control – all of those conversations… There are just these wildly articulate insightful pieces being done about a feminist perspective, a political perspective, at a time where these subjects are getting some attention about women in Hollywood and women in the world, and how we’re portrayed in the media. It’s my life goal to contribute something to the world that hopefully moves it in a positive direction.”

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And while the show wrapped up the entire Killgrave story, there’s ample room to further explore Jessica’s relationship with the other main man in her life: superpowered barkeep Luke Cage (Mike Colter), who will be getting his very own TV series soon, and who along with Jessica is part of the lineup of Marvel’s planned Defenders crossover miniseries. There are also some other dangling plot threads that fans who are familiar with the comics would have picked up on, like how Jessica’s best friend Patsy “Trish” Walker (Rachael Taylor) is actually the comic book superheroine Hellcat. And then there’s the big lingering mystery of how Jessica actually got her superstrength.

Will all of that, and more, be tackled in a proposed second season? Rosenberg certainly wants to do it.

“I’d love that. Me, personally – I’m ready to go. Marvel has a lot going on. So does Netflix. So I don’t know if a second season fits into this schedule, when, whether or not we’ll get one. I don’t know any of that. I personally, I’m ready to jump in now. I’ve had some time off. I needed some time off! It was a really hard run”

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If a second season does happen, Rosenberg is not sure if she’ll still be the one steering the ship. But she has confidence in the show’s future though because of her capable star.

“What I have is Krysten Ritter, and she and I are on exactly the same page with this character. And that is a women that will not do something that violates the character in any way. So if I have nothing to do with it, I trust that she’s going to be the protector of the character.”

For her part, Ritter is already excited to tackle another season as she feels that the show’s ending leaves open so many dramatic possibilities for her.

“I had such mixed emotions about the ending, because what does that mean for Jessica’s journey or her purpose? So I think I would love to see what she gets into next. And I love doing stunts – like, fight sequences and things like that. They always say in second seasons they really amp those up!”

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Well, one of the things that made Rosenberg’s job a little bit easier this time around is that some of the heavy lifting had already been done by “Alias”, the comic book miniseries written by the famed Brian Michael Bendis, from which Jessica Jones borrows several pieces of the narrative. A fact that Rosenberg is not ashamed to admit.

“We’re always mining that series as much as we can. It’s just great story telling. So we’re not idiots, we’re not going to ignore great story telling. Grab it, use it, and claim it – then call it ‘an homage [laughs].”

And hey, if the results are as spectacular as we’ve already seen, then by all means: Homage away!

Marvel’s Jessica Jones‘ full 13-episode first season is currently available to watch on Netflix.

Last Updated: December 4, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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