The creator / producer / writer of the series Jessica Jones Melissa Rosenberg has had a career in film and television, especially as the screenwriter who adapted most of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight novels for cinema, and as a writer and producer of the murderous drama in series Dexter. She finished producing in other shows, including Party of Five and The OC, and wrote the Step Up dance film. But she says that throughout her career, Marvel television director Jeph Loeb was the first person to do the simple question "What do you want to do now?" Given that freedom, he said he wanted to create something like a woman. Tony Stark: a damaged, complex and irresistible character that also had superpowers. Marvel brought her Alias, the Brian Michael Bendis comic about a traumatized and angry journalist turned into a hero turned into a private investigator, and she developed the series for ABC, which finally rejected her. But Netflix finally revived it, and in November 2015, the first season of 13 episodes of Jessica Jones of Marvel appeared in the service.
Jessica Jones has been a winner with critics and fans, but they have waited years for a second season, while Netflix and Marvel focused on other related street superhero shows: the Jessica Jones spin-off Luke Cage, the little-loved Iron Fist , and Daredevil, which premiered months before Jessica Jones in April 2015, and got its second season in March 2016. In August of 2017, the crossed series The Defenders brought together the characters of the four shows to create a single story . And on March 8, the second season of Jessica Jones finally came to Netflix. Just before the premiere, I spoke with Rosenberg about how he built the second season differently from the first, what he thinks about the similarities between this season's plot and The Defenders, and what would be necessary before Jessica can join the rows of Marvel Cinematic Hero universe alignment.
You've talked about how Jessica Jones's first season was to deal with the trauma, about the guilt of the survivors and the emotional consequences of the rape. Do you think season 2 has a specific general theme?
He does it! This season is very much about the question "who am I?" We left season 1, where Jessica took her own life. Justified or not, she took her own life, and it was really easy. And that scares her. It makes her wonder: is she a murderer, as Kilgrave wanted her to be, as if he were trying to convince her? Is she a monster, like the character of Janet McTeer? Is she one of these supervigilantes, as people keep trying to pigeonhole her? Meanwhile, Trish is stirring the hiding place of her past, and that raises many questions about who she is. Then it really brings us to a deeper exploration and introspection about Jessica's life. Your conflict this season is external and internal.
That search for identity extends to the plot of Trish and that of Jeri Hogarth, is not it?
Absolutely, and Malcolm too. That is the question of the whole season, exploring that topic from many different points of view.
You said you wanted a new approach for this season because the first season worked so well that you did not want to try to imitate it. Was that primarily narrative or did you also want to subtly change the look and feel of the show?
The visual appearance, the tone and the sensation are very similar, because that is the DNA of the show. It really is more about the structure of the narrative. In the first season, we had a classic villain, Big Bad one season that was solved. This season, we're really taking a different approach, so we're not repeating ourselves. We want to explore something new. So this is a more stable compilation because we had time to write all the scripts before filming them. We really approached it like a 13-hour movie. So, the first five episodes are like watching the first 35 minutes of a movie. Then you throw yourself into the second act and there is much more to come.
Netflix does not perform screening tests, so when the first season fell, it was the first exposure of the show to an audience. Since he then had time to evaluate the reaction, did he learn anything that was used in the second season?
Well, it was such an overwhelming response. It was humiliating and rewarding and all the comments about it were really amazing. So we arrived at the second season terrified. [Laughs] The bar raised quite high, and the level of expectation was very high. And then you have to just close that, and really focus on these characters and what story to tell for them and where you want to take them. So we isolate ourselves again. And with season 2, as in season 1, nobody saw it beforehand except for a small circle of people.
You've changed Jessica's history of comics a lot, especially around the origins of her powers. Was that originally so you would have more to explore in later seasons?
Yes, you know, to tell the story of season 1, we need to know everything we can about Jessica. So we were building a background story for her even then. It informs some of who he is, what he can do and part of his damage. So most of it was already in place. We just have to expand and let the audience participate.
Is there a long-term plan if the program has five seasons, seven or 12? Is there a roadmap for the future?
I always arrive at the end of each season wanting to leave as many doors open as possible. When you have a large set of characters, especially a great character like Jessica, you can tell stories for that character throughout the day, throughout life. But in reality it's just about leaving the doors open. I have vague ideas of what I would do at the end of the series, but I'm really focusing on season after season, leaving space and stories to tell.
One of the biggest problems and benefits of superhero comics is that their stories often extend forever if writers and the editor can handle it. Would you like to do this for another 10 years?
Good question. [Laughs] Writing this character, and writing for Krysten Ritter and this cast, I would have to say it's my dream job. It's the best job in the city. I do not know. It would depend, I suppose, on who was still involved and if he thought he had more stories to tell.
Hogarth's plot this season is reminiscent of what happened with Sigourney Weaver in The Defenders: this powerful and independent woman whose body is breaking her, and she is trying to maintain control and consolidate her empire while she is worried about death and her subordinates are rebellious Was that parallel a concern? Did the people at Netflix talk about how to make those stories different?
I really was not tracking that. The Defenders: they are so different characters and different worlds. I just was not worried about the crossover there. You know, people get sick. The fact that both are powerful women do not … do not overlap for me. Jessica Jones as a show has a lot of DNA.
What happened in The Defenders does not seem to have had much impact on Jessica. How did you approach the integration with that miniseries?
That story happens over the course of a weekend in Jessica's life, so it does not really affect our story. In fact, we are starting where we were at the end of season 1.
Were there conversations about other cross-events between the Netflix Marvel shows?
Honestly not. We are really focusing on our world and our characters. If a story asks for it, if creating a story lends itself to attracting someone from another story, or bouncing in it, it's fantastic. But it is simply not an objective. It is not an objective The only objective is really to attract people to this world.
This story seems so personal to you and you have so much control over it. If the MCU films wanted to integrate it, how would you approach that?
Our series has a great character. Each argument is born of this character and his experiences. We will never give a plot over it. It's just "Where would she be now, what would she be doing in this case?" So I think I could go to any of the other universes, to any of the other worlds, as long as you really stay with that. That is such an essential voice and perspective in our series.
Jessica and Hogarth are developing as characters this season, but both are trying to hide their feelings, and as they try to force themselves to change, they keep retreating. How did you approach coherence and continuity with your development in 13 different directors?
There is always a scriptwriter-producer on the set, for each moment of filming. And the writers, we've been in the room for a year and a half before the directors set foot on the set. Then we know every aspect of each script, of each arc. So, we are really there, a reference for them. And then you also have the actors, who are the guardians of their characters, and they are very passionate with those characters and very collaborators. So, it really is a team effort to take them all together.
Do you shoot one episode at a time?
We do it mainly, which is great for the actors. They are tracking their character all the time, so they are not bouncing back in time so much. Sometimes, in the past, we were able to cross on board, that is, shoot two episodes at once. That is practical. But due to the availability of our directors, and as the schedule was developed, this time we ended up with 13 different directors.