The second season of Marvel’s Jessica Jones will be one of the most anticipated shows coming to Netflix when it finally drops sometime in 2018. When season one introduced the world to Jessica (Krysten Ritter) in November last year, viewers were so captivated that many binged the whole show before Thanksgiving. We’ll have to wait until after Netflix’s Defenders team-up in 2017 — which will also include Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist — to see Jessica again, but fortunately, series showrunner Melissa Rosenberg is already hard at work on the second season of Jessica Jones. She attended a Marvel cocktail party for the Television Critics Association this summer where she discussed plans for season two. Here are 10 things we learned from Rosenberg about Jessica Jones.
Season one is certainly a tough act to follow, no doubt about that. But a lot of the hard work Rosenberg did launching the show made it easier for her to continue.
“The second season’s easier than the first, because you’re not creating the world,” Rosenberg said.”I know who the cast is. I didn’t when I was creating it the first time around. I know what the world is. I know what the tone is. And there’s 13 hours that the other writers can look at and go, ‘Oh, this is what the show is.’ The bar has been set incredibly high, and you’re plagued with all the, ‘Oh my God, how am I going to make it? Is everyone going to be wildly disappointed?’ So there’s that pressure.”
The star of Jessica Jones is going to have her work cut out for her. Rosenberg is going to make sure of that, but in a good way where Ritter will get ample opportunities to display her range.
“She and I are joined at the hip,” Rosenberg said. “We know each other really well now and see each other very clearly. It’s really about giving her more things to play and giving her more notes to play so she can have some fun and explore. You never want to limit an actress of her caliber. You want to just keep on peeling off the layers and giving them more and more. So that was literally the conversation. How do we dig deeper? How do we push the edges of what was already familiar?”
One thing we know about Jessica Jones is she won’t save the day for just anybody. The villain has to be someone at least as bad as Kilgrave (David Tennant) to even get her out of bed.
“I’m never going to be interested in, oh, a bad guy here to take over the city,” Rosenberg said. “She’d be like, ‘As long as I can pay my rent, I’m cool.’ You have to build something that reaches into her, reaches into her psyche and twists it around. It always comes back to character. We can come up with a whole plot and then we go, ‘Wait a minute, what is this actually about?’ Oh, she gets something and goes to the place? No, what is it about? So even if we start there, we have to always come back, and most of the time that means the whole plot gets wiped out if we can start with character and emotion. Everyone’s so tired of me saying every time, ‘So what is this really about?’ or ‘What is Jessica’s emotional arc?’ So it’s all about character points.”
Speaking of villains, who could possibly be a bigger threat than Kilgrave? His psychic power forced people to do things they didn’t want — to kill for him or worse — so he had to be stopped. It might take two or more villains to equal the threat of Kilgrave. Rosenberg said we’re onto something.
“Could be, could be,” she said. “You never want to play by formula. You always want to surprise, so we’re looking to surprise.”
Jessica has an incredible supporting cast of allies from her closest friend, Trish (Rachael Taylor), to her main client, ace attorney Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss). Rosenberg is excited about writing more for all of them.
“The first season is so much about Jessica Jones, establishing her as the lead,” Rosenberg said. “So we really had to earn our secondary character stories. This season, I feel like we have. So we just reached into every single one of them.
“We have just a really exciting story for Carrie-Anne Moss. When you have actors of this caliber, as we do, you’re like, ‘Okay, what do we want to see Carrie-Anne Moss do?’ Coming up with something cool, and Rachael Taylor. Really, she’s the second lead. There’s just a lot of her stuff. That relationship is the core relationship in our series. So exploring that more and reaching into them and their dynamic together or apart. The one who was probably the least explored in the first season was Eka Darville, who plays Malcolm. So we’re really able to expand on him this year.”
Luke Cage (Mike Colter) was a main character on Jessica Jones season one, but now he’s got his own show. Rosenberg won’t try to replace Luke Cage in season two of Jessica Jones.
“We’ll never repeat Luke Cage,” Rosenberg said. “There will definitely be more additional characters. There’s a very, very small ensemble that we left the show with at the end of season one, so we really wanted to expand those stories and bring other characters and other relationships to Jessica and the others into the world. So yeah, we’re building up again because we lost Luke Cage.”
Rosenberg was a huge fan of Brian Michael Bendis’s comic book Alias and made no secret of its influence on season one. Rosenberg hopes Bendis has time to write a lot more before season two begins filming, because she wants that inspiration.
“The book is my favorite,” Rosenberg said. “The book is amazing. I’ve always pulled everything and anything I could from there. So if there’s anything left, I’m going to keep pulling as much as I can. It’s just such a great piece of work and he’s creating the comic books. I’m like, ‘Go fast! Go fast so I can steal more from you, pay homage.’”
Rosenberg is a fan of Alias but she’s also staffed her writers room with enough comic book fanboys and fangirls that they can suggest things from other comics.
“I have an incredibly talented staff and always very much a balance of geeks, comic book geeks, fanboys, fangirls,” Rosenberg said. “So I have a nice healthy percentage of my staff who know that stuff inside and out and they knew that stuff walking in the room. It’s just them doing a lot of research, so they’re always the ones who bring history of the different characters.”
Because of the time in between seasons, many of the writers had to leave Jessica Jones to go work on other shows. Rosenberg was able to find a new staff that met the high standards of Jessica Jones.
“I got the extraordinary good fortune of getting Raelle Tucker as my number two,” Rosenberg said. “She was on True Blood for seven years. She’s my number two and just an extraordinary partner in this. There are very few people who match me in terms of work ethic and intensity and drive. She’s right there with me. It’s really amazing to have someone like that. I have fresh blood as well. They don’t know all the things that we brought up and rejected, so they may bring it up again and be like, ‘Wait a minute. That actually works.’ It’s exciting. What initially was daunting has become probably the best thing for the show.”
Two of the original writers were able to return. “Hilly Hicks and Jamie King, who is our youngest writer and he’s now staff writer,” Rosenberg said. “I’m so grateful to have them because they really provide continuity. Everyone’s going, ‘Did we do that in season one? Oh no, we did that.’ And also my writer’s assistant Jesse Harris, so I have some continuity.”
To plan this far head, Rosenberg needs to know where The Defenders leaves Jessica. She’s been assured that the team-up series leaves the characters back where they began, but even if they didn’t, Rosenberg could work with it.
“As they said, they’re parking the car where we left it,” Rosenberg said. “But what’s handy is we can tell a story there if we need to. We’re working in tandem enough that even if we need something out of it, it’s really interesting. They have an enormous challenge in front of them.”