Even before they cast one of Britain’s best-loved sci-fi actors David Tennant, we were interested in A.K.A. Jessica Jones. Marvel teaming up with Netflix to do a gritty depiction of a former superhero, based on one of the most critically acclaimed comics in recent history? Sign us up!
But what can we expect from Marvel’s second foray into video-on-demand – apart from a certain Vimto-hued Time Lord?
The programme is based on Brian Michael Bendis’ critically-acclaimed comic series Alias, which introduced the character (including her previously-unseen superheroic backstory) in 2001.
To sum it up, Jessica Jones was a superhero called Jewel, with great strength and the ability to fly – but after a horrifying incident she hung up her cape for good. Now she works as a private investigator in New York, but struggles to leave the past behind as she becomes involved with superheroic cases.
A Breaking Bad alumnus is playing the lead
Krysten Ritter, who appeared in series two of Breaking Bad as a girlfriend of lead character Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), is set to play former hero Jessica. Hopefully she’ll bring some spunky charm to the character, who is one of the most popular modern inventions in the Marvel Universe.
David Tennant is playing the baddie
Though the Doctor Who actor won’t admit his character is a villain, we have it straight from the mouth of executive producer Melissa Rosenberg: “I’m so honoured and excited by the prospect of David inhabiting this multifaceted character,” she said.
“He can deliver the most heart-wrenching moment to the driest of lines, and all points in between. He’ll make Kilgrave a truly original villain.”
Marvel haven’t said exactly who Tennant’s character Kilgrave is, only that he has a connection to Jessica’s past and that his appearance will cause “shockwaves” in her life – but we’re pretty sure he’s playing comic-book supervillain the Purple Man, aka Zebediah Killgrave (not sure why the spelling has changed, though).
With the ability to control minds, in the comics the Purple Man imprisoned and mentally tortured then-superhero Jessica Jones leading her to give up her superhero life and become a private Investigator, which is where the new series appears to pick up. So it’s likely this backstory will be similar, but then again who knows? He might not even be purple (but we hope he is). Here’s why we think Tennant is great for the role.
Jessica’s not the only hero on the block
Marvel has cast Mike Colter as long-time comics hero Luke Cage (sometimes called Power Man), who has great strength and unbreakable skin which he uses to fight crime on the streets. There are plans for Cage to be spun out into a later Netflix series of his own, though that presumably depends on how well he’s received here. Notably, within the comics Luke Cage and Jessica end up having a daughter together so there might be a bit of romantic frisson in the series between Colter and Ritter’s characters.
But there’s more – though we’re not sure if she’ll be particularly super right away, Rachael Taylor has been cast as Patricia Walker, aka Hell Cat (great name), in the comics a member of superhero team the Defenders alongside characters like Doctor Strange (soon to be played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and The Hulk.
In the casting announcement it was said that Patricia would act as something of an “emotional anchor” for Jessica and work as a radio host rather than a fellow hero – so maybe we won’t be seeing her get the claws out until some time later on. Still, Marvel are clearly planning ahead.
One role is still a question mark
Continuing their trend for getting reasonably big sci-fi names, A.K.A Jessica Jones has cast Carrie-Anne Moss (best known as Trinity from The Matrix) in the mysterious role of “Harper”, an authoritative figure and potential ally to Jessica. Maybe she could be linked to Marvel’s main security organisation, leading to some crossovers with Agents of SHIELD? Either way, the series would be remiss if it didn’t give her some pretty kick-ass action scenes…
It’s leading to something big
A.K.A. Jessica Jones is the second planned Netflix miniseries by Marvel, following Daredevil (out this April and starring British actor Charlie Cox) and before mystic martial artist Iron Fist and Luke Cage (see above) get their standalone series on the video-on-demand service.
Looking ahead, in a similar way to how the individual Iron Man, Captain America and Thor movies led to The Avengers, Marvel and Netflix hope to seed a crossover miniseries based on superhero team the Defenders – which also explains the presence of traditional team member Hell Cat (see above) in A.K.A. Jessica Jones.
It shares the continuity of the Marvel movies
Much like Agents of SHIELD or Agent Carter, A.K.A. Jessica Jones will take place in the same world as the Marvel movies – so if yet another supervillain levels half of New York City in Avengers 3, expect Jessica to be dealing with the aftermath.
Of course, it also opens up the possibility of some of the bigger heroes dropping by in guest roles (Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury popped into Agents of SHIELD a couple of times).
It could actually become a movie itself
That said, Jessica and Iron Man could meet on the big screen. Disney CEO Bob Iger told Variety that if A.K.A. Jessica Jones (or the other planned Marvel Netflix series) proved popular, “It’s quite possible that they could become feature films.” So that’s exciting…
It comes out this year…maybe
Marvel and Netflix have been a little wriggly on whether the series will be available this year. They want to keep a bit of a gap after their first series Daredevil, but they said it might emerge before 2016, and we’re keeping optimistic. Also, in typical Netflix style they’re releasing all 13 episodes at once so prepare for a long weekend whenever it does turn up…