Netflix premiered its second Marvel series yesterday: the noir-ish detective series Jessica Jones, which is based on the Alias comics by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos. The show follows on the heels of the well-received Daredevil, whom eventually Jessica Jones’s titular character will join in The Defenders.
The show starts off with only brief glimpses of David Tennant’s Kilgrave in the first episode, but the character almost immediately makes his presence felt despite his lack of screen time. Kilgrave is better known in the comics upon which the show is based as the Purple Man, and where his signature superpower goes, so does his color of choice.
The superpower in question is mind control, and Tennant has spoken to a few outlets about the temptation and corrupting nature of this ability. In an interview with MTV, he talked about how difficult it would be to maintain one’s moral compass with the ability to control people’s thoughts and actions:
“Mind control might be hard to beat. What I’d worry about is what it would do to your moral compass, that’s what would concern me. I think it would be very difficult to find anyone who could maintain the moral fibre required to not abuse that power.”
There’s no doubt that Kilgrave’s moral compass was broken by his superpower. He would make a formidable opponent for any superhero, and Tennant joked in the video about how he might interact with the Avengers. He speculated that Thor would be the most resistant to Kilgrave’s powers, and that Iron Man would probably be the most useful person to control. However, he also told Vanity Fair that such a crossover is far from a sure thing:
“There’s an acceptance that we are in the same world as the Avengers and Spider-Man, but you can’t quite imagine it happening. Having said that, I’d be very happy to be in an Avengers movie. Any of them.”
So, whether or not Kilgrave gets to use his powers on Iron Man and Thor is entirely up in the air, but there’s one thing that can definitely be ruled out: Tennant in purple makeup. In the comic books, the experimental nerve gas that gave Kilgrave his powers also turned his hair and skin purple. For the show, however, Tennant never even did makeup tests to explore this option.
“It was never tried. I’m slightly disappointed. Although, I’m sure by week two turning up at five A.M. to be slathered in purple paint would’ve become rather harsh.”
It appears Jessica Jones viewers will have to be satisfied with purple showing up just about everywhere but Tennant’s face, because some aspects of comic book characters’ appearances don’t translate too well to live action. One thing remains consistent between the comics and the Netflix series, though: Kilgrave is as evil as he is powerful, and that makes him every bit as worthy an adversary to Jessica Jones as Wilson Fisk was to Daredevil.
Jessica Jones and Daredevil Season 1 are now available on Netflix. Luke Cage Season 1 and Daredevil Season 2 will arrive in 2016. Iron Fist and The Defenders will arrive sometime thereafter.