With the premiere of Doctor Strange this fall, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will officially include 14 films, one current TV show at ABC, and three series housed at Netflix — two seasons of Daredevil and one each of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. However the MCU is continually expanding, and that’s true of Netflix’s corner featuring the street-level heroes of New York City. Iron Fist debuts next year, followed by The Defenders, The Punisher, as well as subsequent seasons of Jessica Jones and Daredevil.
One of the strengths of Netflix’s Marvel series — which have garnered plenty of praise from critics, Marvel fans, and casual TV viewers alike — has been their ability to diversify the MCU in terms of tone by offering more mature, grounded stories. However, both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage have also diversified in terms of those involved with the shows’ production both in front of and behind the camera. In the case of Jessica Jones, showrunner Melissa Rosenberg is continuing to push for more representation with the show’s second season.
During her keynote panel at the Transform Hollywood symposium, Rosenberg said all 13 episodes of Jessica Jones season 2 will be directed by women, as reported by Variety’s Maureen Ryan. It remains to be seen who these women will be, but with Jessica Jones season 2 expected to film after The Defenders — which is set to begin in early November — it’s likely we may learn more soon enough.
Season 1 of Jessica Jones was praised for its handling of sexual assault and rape, a subject that has been discussed many times in terms of pop culture in recent years due to television series and film portrayals. Game of Thrones has notoriously drawn criticism for its depiction of rape and sexual violence committed against women. However, though Jessica Jones provided a compelling and realistic portrayal of sexual assault — as well as the trauma that can result from it — only three of the nine directors who worked on season 1 were women.
However, while Jessica Jones‘ and Rosenberg’s push to have more female representation behind the scenes of the show’s second season seems to be the first of its kind for Marvel TV, documentary filmmaker Alexia Prichard, who was also in attendance at the panel, pointed out that Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar hired an entirely female team of directors for its first season that debuted this summer. Additionally, Queen Sugar featured women of color directors, including DuVernay herself.
That said, considering Marvel’s push for diversity across all media in recent years, Rosenberg’s announcement shouldn’t be too surprising. On the film side, Marvel Studios is currently narrowing down choices for a female director for the Captain Marvel film (following the lead of Warner Bros’ and DC’s Wonder Woman movie that was directed by Patty Jenkins). Additionally, Marvel hired Black creators for both their Black Panther film (director and co-writer Ryan Coogler) and Luke Cage (showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker).
Certainly, Marvel has drawn criticism for their upcoming portrayals and whitewashing of Asian characters, Doctor Strange and Iron Fist most notably. Arguably the film and television show would have benefitted from having Asian American creators behind the scenes as directors, writers, and/or producers. But Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has seemingly taken the criticisms of Doctor Strange under consideration and will hopefully improve in the future.
As for Jessica Jones season 2, although little is known about the plot, Rosenberg has previously said the heroine (played by Krysten Ritter) will continue to deal with the trauma from her sexual assault. Additionally, Jessica will need to deal with the fallout from the season 1 finale and the fact that she killed someone — albeit someone who had harmed her and those closest to her. Plus, Rosenberg previously teased that season 2 will feature more of the relationship between Jessica and Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor).
Of course, with Jessica Jones season 2 expected to begin filming after The Defenders wraps, we may learn more about what to expect from the heroine’s sophomore outing in the coming weeks and months. But, based on Rosenberg’s comments, it seems she and Marvel are trying to tell the best stories with the best team.
Daredevil season 1 & 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist season 1 arrives on March 17th, 2017. The Defenders and The Punisher arrive in 2017. Release dates for Jessica Jones season 2 and Daredevil season 3 have not yet been announced.