Jessica Jones Season 2 will be entirely directed by women.
Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg revealed the news at Transforming Hollywood 7: Diversifying Entertainment, a conference held last week at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Rosenberg told the conference that she wanted to increase the number of female directors working o the show in its second run, a move that Marvel supported. And so they began to approach female directors, aiming to fill in gaps with male directors further down the line. Someone else working on the show, though, suggests that they only hire female directors, which Rosenberg admitted she hadn’t contemplated that possibility, quickly jumping at the chance. It ranks the show as one of the few on TV that has an all-female list of directors, with Variety noting that Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar is another rare example.
Being inclusive in hiring talent is “a conscious decision and it’s very important that showrunners do that”, said Rosenberg.
The show is still halfway through the writing phase, with an aim to start shooting next year. Indeed, we already know that Iron Fist is next on the roster of Netflix Marvel shows, followed by crossover event series The Defenders. Only after those will the next phase of programmes enter production. With two a year usually being released by Marvel, that means after Iron Fist in March 2017 and The Defenders in the autumn, it is likely that Daredevil Season 3 and Jessica Jones will lead the way in 2018, followed by The Punisher spin-off in 2019.
No other details were confirmed about the second season of Jessica Jones, but the decision to have all 13 episodes helmed by women is promising enough.
“I think the only reason I’m sitting here is because of tenacity. It’s a tough business. You really have to be able to take a hit,” Rosenberg commented. “I’ve gotten fired so many times, I can’t even count now.”
“That’s the nature of the business, it’s really hard,” she added, saying that “you have to be able to pick yourself up and say that tomorrow is going to be better than today.”
It’s a stance that is hoped to influence other Hollywood productions, at a time when gender inequality is more evident than ever. With Captain Marvel eyeing up female directors and Patty Jenkins helming Wonder Woman, there is a slow shift towards making a conscious effort to be inclusive and diverse in the comic book sector. Jessica Jones, meanwhile, remains commendable not just for its female showrunner and lead character, but for its portrayal of women and its treatment of themes such as abuse and control.
“Such direct evocation of the very frightening reality of abusive relationships marks one of the darkest places the MCU has journeyed emotionally, and though it may not be the most nuanced of explorations, there’s still something undoubtedly powerful in a super-powered woman repeating the idea that the consequences of abuse are never the victim’s fault,” we wrote in our review of Season 1. “It’s the kind of simple act that may genuinely have positive effects on the lives of its viewers, and that shouldn’t go unappreciated.”