A great, big shared common universe is something that’s wonderful to take advantage of with all the various characters, plots and details, but it does lead to a particular conundrum: How do you distinguish one project from the other? There’s the rub, and one that Marvel Studios is confronting with their quintet of Netflix shows. We’ve seen Daredevil, and it was excellent, but what will distinguish it from the next series, Jessica Jones, not to mention the three other series that will follow? That was one of the questions put to the people in charge of the show during the Television Critics Association Press Tour.
As covered by Indiewire, showrunner Melissa Rosenberg and Marvel TV overseer Jeph Loeb were asked about a number of aspects of the upcoming series. For instance, where as the title character of Daredevil was being driven to defend his city from a cabal of criminals looking to prey on the weak, Jessica Jones, in comparison, just wants to make a living, according to Rosenberg.
“Jessica is about paying rent, getting the next client. She’s dealing with a fairly dark past. She’s trying to get through the day. She’s not really trying to save the city, she’s trying to save her apartment. At her core, she wants to do something good. She wants to contribute to the world. But there are a lot of personality issues for her that can get in the way.
“Jessica Jones is a brawler. She gets drunk, she gets pissed off, and boom, you’re down. She doesn’t wear a costume, she doesn’t have a mask. She’s just who she is.”
As for the show itself, Marvel has been keen when it comes to their films to differentiate their various projects from one and other by making them more than superhero movies. For example, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a political thriller, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera, and Ant-Man is a heist movie. Loeb recognized the need to differentiate the Netflix series in the same way.
“When we first sat down and started talking about ‘Daredevil,’ what we said was, for all intents and purposes, it was a crime drama first and a superhero show second. One of the things we’ve talked a lot about is that ‘Jessica’ is in many ways a psychological thriller first and then a superhero show second.”
To emphasis the psychological, Loeb told the critics that they and viewers need to prepare themselves for some tense television viewing once Jessica comes face-to-face again with the super-villain that ruined her life, the Purple Man.
“What you get out of ‘Jessica’ is a sort of hold-your-breath tension as to what’s going to happen. When you see the dynamic between Krysten Ritter and David Tennant… that question of ‘What’s going to happen next?’ and ‘What could happen next?’ and how that’s driven by character is something that is so important to not just the scripts but also the way the show is shot, and the way that everyone reacts, and the way those two react with each other.”
Jessica Jones will premiere later this year on Netflix.