Marvel's Head Of Television On Jessica Jones: "Quality Writing, Quality Cast, Beautifully Shot"
Marvel's Head of Television, Jeph Loeb, has dropped a few hints about what audiences can expect when the thirteen part series Marvel's Jessica Jones launches on Netflix later this year. David Tennant, Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter and Carrie-Anne Moss star in the adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis' Alias comic books. Loeb has hinted that there could potentially be crossovers with other characters from the Marvel world in the future and also that the character of Killgrave, played by David Tennant, may have a more sympathetic side in the TV series than he does in the comics.
Marvel's Jesssica Jones is the second of five planned Defenders miniseries. The first, Daredevil, premiered in April to great critical acclaim. Mike Colter will take his character Luke Cage into the third series next year, with Iron Fist following, and then a Defenders show.
Jeph Loeb was in conversation with ET during his visit to San Diego for this year's Comic Con. He talked about all of Marvel's current TV projects, including Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, and he spoke freely about how Jessica Jones, which is being adapted and executive produced by Melissa Rosenberg, would follow on from Daredevil and fit into the Marvel world. One of the issues that he was quick to address was the very adult content of the original story, particularly in the story arc of Killgrave.
"I think people knew, as soon as we announced Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones was based on a much more adult comic," he said. "The source material came that way. She has real problems with a number of things that she abuses! And we’re not shying away from that. There’s no tidying her up. And Krysten Ritter is killing it. And when people get a hold of what David Tennant is doing as Killgrave..."
"When we first started talking about Daredevil, we promised that we were telling a story that was first a crime drama and then a superhero show," he continued. "This is more of a psychological thriller. This speaks to when you think about what happened to Jessica and what sort of destroyed her life and how she tried to put it together, and then to have to confront the person who deconstructed her world, that’s a very powerful, emotional place to start from. We just think people are going to be blowing through those. You get to the end of the first episode, and you go, "I need to know what the rest of the story is."
Fortunately for viewers, Jessica Jones, in common with all of Marvel's Netflix series, will have all of its episodes released on the same day so there will be no agonising wait for the next installment!
Loeb explained that Marvel's Jessica Jones would have the same feel as Daredevil but at the same time would be quite distinct. "It’s the quality of the writing, it’s the quality of the cast, it’s beautifully shot. S.J. Clarkson did the first two episodes for us. It has a lot of the look and feel of Daredevil, but then it’s its own thing. We like to talk about how the films that inspired us in Daredevil were Taxi Driver and French Connection and those movies in the early ‘70s. There were other movies in the early ‘70s that lived in that world, and one of the ones that our showrunner Melissa Rosenberg talks a lot about is Chinatown, which again, if you go back to the original source material, is one of the things that influenced Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos when they created the character. So those kind of beautiful, long, wide expansive shots, where people sort of come into frame and go back out of frame and someone’s in the foreground and then someone is way in the background and they’re having a conversation, that’s the stuff that makes it interesting."
He also spoke about the sense that the distinction between the 'good' and 'bad' guys in Daredevil was not always that clear cut so that viewers could often find themselves feeling sympathy for Wilson Fisk, and hinted that David Tennant's Killgrave may not be quite the wholly unsavoury monster of the comics.
"We said from the very beginning, there are going to be times when you’re uncomfortable because you’re not quite rooting for Matt, you’re kind of rooting for Wilson, and it’s the same kind of thing you’re going to find in Jessica," he explained. "There’s going to be moments where some of the things that she does is pretty questionable. And some of the things that, when you learn about Killgrave’s characters and the way that David Tennant plays that character, it’s really extraordinary."
With plans for four interlocking series in progress ahead of a Defenders miniseries, set in a world that is already inhabited by other Marvel characters, there will always be the question of character crossovers. Loeb has not ruled these out but stresses that fans may need to be patient where guest cameos are concerned.
"Our feeling is right now, the shows that we’re doing on Netflix are so young and so new, we need people to get to know Matt, and Foggy, and Karen, and we need people to get to know Jessica [Jones] and Trish [Walker, aka Hellcat] and Luke [Cage]. Once they’re invested in that, it really is the same thing that we did with S.H.I.E.L.D. Trust us. Get to know the characters, invest in them, and then...There may be some," he said. "There is nothing that could make it not happen. It’s just a question of when it would happen and when it’s appropriate. Without giving anything away, they’re in the same area. In some cases they are in the same neighbourhood. One of the things that is important to us is, when you enter the police station, it’s the same police station. When you go to the hospital, you start to see the same people. But we don’t want people suddenly going, "Wait, is that Matt Murdoch that’s walking down the street?" Because that’s going to feel odd, and in a weird way feel false."
You can read all of Jeph Loeb's exclusive talk with ET here
Marvel's Jessica Jones will premiere on Netflix in the autumn.