Ever since Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos brought Alias to the Marvel (MAX) Universe a decade or so ago, Jessica Jones has been one of the most important characters in Marvel's character library.
Working with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers, married to Luke Cage, a key player in the Secret Invasion storyline...all in all, you can't get rid of Jones, and for the most part, that's been a good thing.
What do we want to see out of her TV series when it comes to Netflix as part of the Netflix-Marvel Defenders lineup?
Most fans know nothing about Jessica Jones, and her name doesn't exactly tell you much. Even "Luke Cage" is more self-explanatory because the name just sounds badass. Calling the show Jessica Jones (or even AKA Jessica Jones) will make it sound a bit like John Carter or Michael Clayton; you have to watch the ads before you have an idea as to what the movie is even about, unless you're already familiar with the source material.
That's why it's important to establish who Jessica is and what makes her special.
On top of that, you have the fact that in Alias, the series that made her famous with fans, the big thing was that she was a super-spy in the world of superheroes. That doesn't really differentiate her that much from Melinda May or Black Widow, so making sure she's not just perceived as "We Couldn't Get ScarJo For TV, So Here's Jessica Jones" is important.
Bad-ass is more important than hot
Speaking of bad-ass...the most important thing about a female superhero is that she's formidable.
They've managed this well with Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers films so far, but it cannot be emphasized enough that the character has to be impressive first and hot second. They try and fail to do it with Ming-Na Wen's Melinda May on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., mostly because the character is so one-dimensional that the only thing we know about her is that she's "awesome." That's not really a personality, and so it doesn't fly. With Jessica Jones, we shoudl see her in her element, possibly just doing the super-spy thing before we even realize that she has powers.
The key, though, is that you shouldn't hire the first pretty face who can mostly pull off the stunts, because she'll be easier to market. Give this gig to somebody who can kick the casting director's ass.
With both Luke Cage and Iron Fist, we've said that we hope to see the relationships they have with other heroes developing early in the series--but here, we'll go the other way. Marvel's first female lead needs some room to grow and not just be "Power-Man's girlfriend."
Female characters, even the strong ones, are too often written in such a way that their ultimate goal is to find a relationship, and that needs to be avoided here at all costs.
The upside to all of this is that she's a super-spy and has an easy in with the superhero community--so while it might be helpful to see how the others come into their roles, Jessica Jones can pretty much just join the team with a badge and a set of powers. Not a whole lot of build-up necessary.
Pick a name and own it
Really, in a perfect world you'd be able to use Alias, but as Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. learned, you don't always get your first pick of names in television, because there are trademark issues at place that you can't just muscle yourself through (*cough*CaptainMarvel*cough*).
But okay, so you can't. Are we going to be Jessica Jones? AKA Jessica Jones, which is what they almost called it before bailing on the series at ABC? The Defenders: Jessica Jones? Anyway, they should latch onto a name ASAP and figure out a way to brand and promote it--maybe by getting a comic on the shelves, even if it's just a miniseries, before the shows hit.0comments
Yeah, Brian Michael Bendis needs to be directly involved in this. We know he's part of Marvel's film "brain trust," but even more than that, his fingerprints and voice need to be all over any potential Jessica Jones series. It's Bendis who raised her out of obscurity to be one of Marvel's most recognizable female characters, who brought her to the Avengers, who married her off...
...Bendis has been there for nearly every major event in Jones's life, and to be developing something like this without his direct input would, quite simply, be a wasted opportunity. He's not a TV writer, so you don't necessarily want him heading up the show, but certainly if he doesn't have script input you're doing something wrong.