Of all the heroes who exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jessica Jones is the least likely to suit up as a costumed crimefighter. In an interview with Inverse, Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter and Rachael Taylor explain why.
In Season 2 of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, streaming now on Netflix, Ritter returns as the superpowered P.I. as she investigates her bizarre past. “When we find her at the top of Season 2, she is still dealing with the aftermath of Kilgrave,” Ritter explains. “That trauma doesn’t just go away. She is also now having to navigate new popularity. She is a famous superhero, which is the opposite of what she wants.”
In the Marvel comics, Jessica Jones had a brief career as the superhero Jewel until she encountered Kilgrave, who used his mind control powers on her and controlled Jessica for months. Jessica is eventually healed with psychic therapy, thanks to Jean Grey of the X-Men, but the trauma compels Jessica to retire. She then opens up a detective agency, where the original Alias comics begin.
Since recognition is the last thing Jessica Jones wants, she’s even less interested in wearing a colorful costume when she fights crime. “I can’t imagine us being Jewel and Hellcat in costumes flying around the city,” Ritter says, “I think our show is a little grittier and darker than that.”
Ritter adds: “What our show does nicely is we keep our boots on the ground. Obviously, we’re a superhero show, that allows us to take relatable, real-world themes and heighten them. I think our show is a little grittier and darker than that. If we did that, it wouldn’t be as literal.” (There was, of course, a minor Easter egg of the Jewel costume in Season 1.)
Rachael Taylor, who plays Jessica’s foster sister, Trish “Patsy” Walker, has the same answer for why Trish may never wear her Hellcat costume, which is also from the comics. But Taylor adds that the desire to become a hero is what fuels Trish, and that Trish ould actually “want” a costume.
“I think Trish would want that,” Taylor tells Inverse. “They’re very different characters. Jessica is the person who wishes she didn’t have powers. She’s conflicted about her ability to help people. I wonder how that would play out. I’m sure [showrunner] Melissa [Rosenberg] could cook up some grounded version of that in the future.”
In fact, Trish’s desire to become a hero is a big thing in Season 2, Taylor teases. Trish has an “appetite for more.”
“She wants power. Jessica has power. There’s trickle effect of The Defenders, it’s added fuel to her fire to be more than what she is,” Taylor says. “Trish pushes Jess in a way that is painful for Jessica to uncover about her backstory because Trish wants to get to the bottom of why Jessica has powers.”
Ritter adds that Season 2 “is deeply personal” and that “the opposing forces are personal and surprising.”
“This friendship and this relationship has tinges of jealousy that we explore,” Ritter says. “Wanting what the other one has — Jessica has contempt for powers, Trish would do anything to have powers. That creates a real divide between them.”
Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.