Much of the attention to date has been on Krysten Ritter’s live-action version of the namesake Jessica Jones, but now Marvel has opened up about what we can expect from the eclectic supporting cast in the latest Netflix series.
Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb made the rounds at the Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour and touched on the casting of David Tennant as the series’ villain, Mike Colter as hero for hire Luke Cage and Rachel Taylor as mysterious hero Hellcat. Daredevil helped created this world, and now it looks like Jessica Jones aims to dig a whole lot deeper into it.
First up, Loeb touched on how Tennant’s villain Killgrave/Purple Man is a counterpoint to Vincent D’onfrio’s fantastic performance as the Kingpin in Daredevil. He’s evil, but you can still (kinda) see where he’s coming from. According to Loeb, Tennant was a dream casting choice for the role, and he promises the chemistry between Ritter and Tennant will make for something extremely special:
“When you see the dynamic between Krysten Ritter and David Tennant, who plays our villain, the question of what’s going to happen next and what could happen next and how that’s driven by character is something that’s so important, not just to the scripts but to the way the show is shot and the way everybody reacts and the way those two actors react with each other. In the same kind of way Vincent D’onofrio owned his half of Daredevil, you’ll see David Tennant own his half of Jessica Jones so that you’re continually finding this incredible balance. I think one of the things that Melissa handled so beautifully is that there are times where there are questions about what the villain is doing and you will be uncomfortably okay or not so much against what he’s doing until you g,o “Oh no, you’re really the villain. You really are a horrible person.”
Looking ahead to a hero who will get his own series down the line, Loeb opened up about how Mike Colter’s version of Luke Cage fits into the wider world of Jessica Jones. It’s a delicate balance to have a future standalone character take on a supporting role, and do it in a way where you can actually understand the future show without watching this one — but Loeb said that’s the approach they’re trying to take. It enriches the world, but hopefully you can jump into Luke Cage down the line without any confusion:
“What’s great about it is that, first of all, you get to meet Mike Colter and I think that’s really the thing that’s most generous of what Melissa did is to allow this show to offer him an opportunity for people to get to know him. He is important to the show and he is important to the story of Jessica Jones and who she is. It would not be Jessica Jones unless you at least understood how Luke affected her life and where she is. What’s wonderful about it is they’re still very early on in this world so who he is and what he’s doing and where he is in his story, allows us to tell a great deal of story that happens before and story that happens afterwards. So you’re getting him not quite in the middle, but sort of in the early part of the middle. So when we get to start on the Luke Cage show, you'll have hopefully watched Jessica, so you know who Luke is, but his story and where he came from and most importantly where he’s going is what that series is about and so it will very much feel like you can watch that show and never have seen Jessica.”
Last but not least, Loeb turned his attention to Rachael Taylor, who will play Patricia “Trish” Walker, aka Marvel hero Hellcat. This is one of the most mysterious aspects of the series at this point, and we have no clue exactly how she’ll fit in. But Loeb teases that they’ve found a unique approach to both modernize the character and pay homage to her decades of history. So, hmm? Check out the comments below:
“What’s kind of lovely is if you go back and go all the way back to the 1950s, because that’s how long the character has been around, and you realize who Patsy Walker was and what it meant and how she then grew up and she went through the period of being a model and all that stuff, Melissa and the writers gave that history it’s own kind of unique spin. I think that when people see it, they’ll recognize that it very much not only works for today’s audience but in the same kind of way, gave Rachael Taylor a very real and grounded place. But what was most important was the relationship between her and Jessica and how these two women who in some ways are sisters, in terms of their friendship, could be that different and yet on the same token, believe in the same kinds of things and that question of what is it to be a hero and the responsibilities that you have when you have abilities is something that brings them together and also continually pushes them apart.”
The 13-episode season of Jessica Jones hits Netflix later this year.