Jessica Jones has been a big hit for Marvel, Netflix and everyone involved with the series, leading to a Season 2 pick-up. After such a personal journey over the course of 13 episodes, where many of the characters were torn down and forced to confront their own issues, speculation is running rampant, as far as what’s next for the cast of characters.
While at the Netflix portion of the TCA Press Tour, co-stars Krysten Ritter (“Jessica Jones”), Rachael Taylor (“Trish Walker”), Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”) and Carrie-Anne Moss (“Jeri Hogarth”), who had only just learned that morning of the show’s renewal, were on hand to chat at a panel and in roundtables. During the interviews, they talked about how excited they are to return to these characters, how wide open the possibilities are for Season 2, what makes the Netflix superhero stories unique, the overwhelming fan response they’ve gotten, the mental states of their characters, that Luke Cage will be its own show (and not a Jessica Jones sequel or spin-off), and moving towards The Defenders series. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Question: After everything that your characters went through in Season 1, where would you like to see things go in Season 2?
CARRIE-ANNE MOSS: The writers are so smart, I can only imagine. I would love to be in that room. I love the creative process. I’m not a writer, so I don’t know what that looks like, but I can only imagine that you get all those great minds in that room, of those particular writers that created the show, and it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to see.
KRYSTEN RITTER: We’re so excited to have a Season 2. We’re so proud of the show and everyone worked really hard on it. We’re so grateful that the response has been positive. That doesn’t happen every day. So, I’m excited to throw on the leather jacket and kick some ass.
RACHAEL TAYLOR: At this moment, I’m just in profound gratitude that we get to go back and work on a show that we love, with amazing actors and great writers, and be a part of the Marvel universe. As with all of the characters in Jessica Jones, Trish has an alias. They all have an AKA. They present one thing to the world, and then there’s another thing underneath, and Trish has that, too. On the surface, she’s very together. She’s put her life back together, after a traumatic and interesting childhood, and she’s a good, supportive friend. But part of her alias, even in the first season, is that she’s quite covetous of some of the gifts that Jessica Jones has. As much as she’s a supportive and loving friend, there’s a part of her that would love to save the world. I don’t know how that will play out in a narrative form in the second season, but it could be cool.
Rachael, are you expecting to get to portray Hellcat and put on the costume?
TAYLOR: The first season exceeded my expectations already, so I’m just waiting to see what will happen in the second season.
Krysten and Mike, can you speak to the mental states of your characters, at the end of the season and going forward?
RITTER: For Jessica, that final victorious, triumphant moment when she kills Kilgrave, I found that very conflicting, in terms of her head space. He’s the reason why she got up, every day. He’s the reason why she went out in the world. It really gave her a purpose. And I don’t think that the past trauma just goes away with his death. So, her head space is really complex.
MIKE COLTER: As for Luke, ultimately, it would have been nice to have a neat little package at the end, where they made up and everything was right with the world. What I loved about where they left the character is that it was like Jessica’s good-bye. Luke wasn’t even conscious for her good-bye, and when he awoke, it was like, “What’s happened?” So, when we left off, I think Luke was completely exhausted, emotionally. He didn’t expect to have this happen to him. And I think where he goes will be directly related to where he came from, in the story of Jessica Jones. But it’s a long arc and a long storyline, and I think it leaves us in a great place to see how we interact again, whether that be for The Defenders, Jessica Jones Season 2, or whatever. We’ll see. I don’t know.
RITTER: When I watched it as a viewer, I was really sad when Jessica came home and Luke wasn’t there because their relationship was so great. She finally felt like something good would happen, and then he was not there. It was just heavy.
Mike, how has Luke’s experience with Jessica changed him and what differences in him will we see for Luke Cage?
COLTER: I really can’t get into too many details, but Luke Cage is completely different. He goes off Uptown and does his own thing. The time lapse is not that long, so it’s not like Jessica Jones never happened. You will see some of that. What I enjoyed about being in the world of Jessica Jones, as Luke Cage, is that I wasn’t front and center because it was Jessica Jones’ story, but it allowed me to find the character from a different perspective. So often, when you’re playing the lead in your own show, it is all about you. The writing wasn’t for me, it was for her. But in the sense of how I was able to play off of her and understand our relationship, it helped me to understand who Luke Cage is, too. The way that I was able to see how Luke dealt with Jessica, he’s a supporter. He could have intervened with Kilgrave, but that was something she had to deal with for herself. He couldn’t come to her rescue because that wouldn’t change the horror of what she’d been through. In that regard, it defined who he was and how he looked at her, as a person who’s a complete individual that can do things for herself, but if she needed him, he was there for her.
How much will Luke Cage feel like a sequel to Jessica Jones and how much will it stand on its own?
COLTER: Jessica Jones is very unique, and we are all in awe of the response from the public. It seems that everyone connected with the character, and we enjoyed shooting it. We pride ourselves on all being unique shows, and Luke Cage is definitely not a sequel to Jessica Jones or a spin-off. You couldn’t tell Jessica Jones’ story without telling Luke Cage’s story. That being said, I look forward to seeing what Luke Cage has to offer. We’re almost done shooting.
Carrie, we saw Jeri Hogarth really straddle the line of almost becoming villainous sometimes while also staying someone the audience can root for. How did you feel about what you learned about her experiences?
MOSS: I think she was completely humbled and completely stripped away of every single thing that defined her as a human being, and she was left raw and completely vulnerable. And yet, she was able to redeem herself in a small way. Who knows where it will go? I felt that deep humbling of someone who really didn’t think about anybody but herself and who got where she was because of that way of thinking and being. She ultimately had everything pretty much destroyed because of that.
What do you think it is that makes Jessica Jones unique among other superhero stories?
COLTER: As a male, I thought the female voice was so strong, unique, real and accessible to most females. In some way, shape or form, they felt like they could relate to it, on some level, because they went through some form of unspeakable horror like what Kilgrave did to Jessica. That, in itself, is something that most people shy away from, even in shows that are on cable or in movies. People talk about it and glance over it, and you see the act happen, which is gratuitous because we all know what happens when this happens. But this show was exploring the aftermath, and that is unique. You’re sitting there going, “I know what happens. This is the aftermath.” You watch her daily life and how she dealt with people, like new prospects for love or friends that were close to her, but she didn’t know if she could trust them or if they were enemies. It’s very difficult to understand PTSD. In that regard, it opened doors to be relatable to so many people. It’s about being damaged, and then trying to figure out how to go on with your life. On top of that, she has superpowers, too. I think that’s very interesting.
TAYLOR: What makes it so unique is that it really is an allegory for many different types of abuse, whether it be sexual abuse, physical abuse, or psychological abuse. That’s what makes this such an incredibly bold show. It’s such a sharp, potent topic that we really should have discussions about more openly and more often. To do it within the framework of the superhero world and the comic book world is so incredibly brave and unique.
People have responded very positively to the portrayals of sexual abuse and PTSD that this show explores. Could you have ever imagined the response you’d get to this show?
RITTER: You always hope that it’s received well and starts those kinds of conversations. From the time I got the first couple of scripts, I always felt that this was groundbreaking material and a groundbreaking character. The portrayal of PTSD and things like that felt really big and important. But, you never know how it’s going to come out. We were very grateful that the response has been so positive. If we get a great review, then more people watch it. It’s so exciting!
What’s it like to have the level of creativity that Netflix provides?
RITTER: Netflix is like sitting at the cool kids’ table. Netflix is amazing. We’re the biggest fans of not only working there, but of the company, in general. I got the DVDs, back in 2002. But, they are very attractive to big creators because they don’t have to worry about getting a lot of notes or worry about advertisers. They really allow a lot of creative freedom. For actors, I’ve found that the moments in the show that really make you root for Jessica are the quiet moments that aren’t necessarily moving the story forward, but are just character moments. You get that because you don’t have commercials. You get about 15 minutes back, every episode, and that’s just all character stuff. For me, that’s like candy.
MOSS: It’s an exciting time to be in television, and it’s a really exciting time to be on a Netflix show. I remember when Netflix first came out, I didn’t quite understand the DVD thing and why my husband was mailing it back. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around it. But now that I’m deeply in, as a watcher of content, what a brilliant business model. As a consumer, it’s empowering to choose what I want to watch and when I want to watch it. I have three small children, so I need that flexibility, in order to really get into a show. And being on a Netflix show, it’s perfect timing. I feel so grateful.
RITTER: It’s been awesome because as they’ve expanded into other countries, we’ve gotten to travel together, and now they’ve gone global. Signing onto it, I never really thought about it that way ‘cause I’ve done traditional TV that airs in the U.S., and if it’s successful, it goes to other countries. But this goes out everywhere, on the same day.
This show features some of the most intense, aggressive sex scenes on television. What was your comfort level with each other, in doing those scenes?
RITTER: If you’re going to have to do a scene like that, it’s not terrible to do it with Mike. He’s all-right looking, but he is also just a nice guy and always has your back. I always felt really safe and protected, and it’s so choreographed. There’s really nothing sexy about it. We pick on each other, more like brother and sister, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
COLTER: The awkward thing is the people in the room besides us. It’s not us. It’s just the 20 or 30 people that are around on set, who normally wouldn’t be on set. That’s always interesting. But, I really thought that it turned out as good as it could turn out. I’m surprised at the response to those scenes. That being said, when we’re doing the stuff, I don’t think we’re thinking about that stuff, consciously. But as professionals, we just try to keep the jokes to a minimum, when we’re in a certain situation. When we’re not doing that, we’re joking. When we’ve got to do that, we try to keep it to a minimum because it’s a little interesting when you’re half-naked. Other than that, everything is good.
Mike, how was Luke changed by being around superheroes and super villains?
COLTER: For the shock of everyone who dealt with Kilgrave, anytime someone takes over your mind and you go through a situation like this, you can’t walk away from it without some of that PTSD. Your mind is being controlled and you’re being violated, in a way. Luke is not used to having someone completely take over and dominate him like that. That was probably a little emasculating, I would imagine. But, I can’t get into where he goes from there.
After everything he went through, will Luke feel differently about the fact that Jessica had to kill his wife?
COLTER: That’s a good question. There are questions, but you’ll have to wait and see what happens when Jessica and Luke meet again. That’s not something you move past easily. It will be interesting to see how they get their relationship on the mend, or if it will mend and when. I’m as curious as you are.
Does he have to go on his own journey then, before he can try to get back on the same page with her again?
COLTER: I don’t think either one of them are trying to settle down and make everything nice and neat. It was just a random, chance meeting and the chemistry was there. It happened and it was undeniable. Sometimes you meet someone at an inopportune moment and it doesn’t work out, but then you see them again five years later and you’re in different places and it’s a better time. So, I think there’s a bit of that. You’re not sure what’s going to happen, but based on the comic books, we do know what happens. Let’s just see how they get there.
Are you excited about getting to do scenes between Luke Cage and Iron Fist?
COLTER: The actor has been cast, but he’s in a basement somewhere. When the time is right, they’ll let him up and tell him where he is. I am [excited]. I’ll get a nice little break, after doing Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. Whether I’m in [his show], I don’t know, but there’s The Defenders.
Season 1 of Jessica Jones is currently available at Netflix, and Season 2 has been picked up.