The story of Marvel’s Jessica Jones is one seldom known to the casual Marvel fan. She doesn’t wield a magical hammer, she doesn’t utter witty catch-phrases, and after enduring incredible hardships, she doesn’t call herself a hero at all. The story of Jessica Jones can be described as appalling, heartbreaking, dire and tragic and Netflix is bringing it to the small screen at the end of the year. Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad) stars as the title character; a former superhero who opens her own detective agency after an end to her superhero career. It also stars David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch/Gracepoint) as the man responsible for ending said career: Kilgrave, aka The Purple Man. Kilgrave is a villain of the darkest proportions that shatters the fantastic side to comic-books by injecting a horrible realism that is sure to shock any reader. To avoid dropping any spoilers, let’s just say that he is a truly sadistic villain that can only be portrayed by a very special kind of actor. Enter, Mr. Tennant.
In the same kind of way Vincent D’Onofrio owned his half of ‘Daredevil, you’ll see David Tennant own his half of ‘Jessica Jones
Fortunately, it seems as though the creators of Jessica Jones have learned from the success of Marvel’s Daredevil in that a hero is only as good as its villain. Indiewire reports that during a round-table interview at the TCA Press Tour this year, executive producer Jeph Loeb and showrunner Melissa Rosenberg spoke about the importance of Tennant’s Purple Man. “In the same kind of way Vincent D’Onofrio owned his half of ‘Daredevil, you’ll see David Tennant own his half of ‘Jessica Jones.” said Loeb. “What you get out of ‘Jessica’ is a sort of hold-your-breath tension as to what’s going to happen. When you see the dynamic between Krysten Ritter and David Tennant… that question of ‘What’s going to happen next?’ and ‘What could happen next?’ and how that’s driven by character is something that is so important to not just the scripts but also the way the show is shot, and the way that everyone reacts, and the way those two react with each other.”
This bodes extremely well for Tennant fans as it sounds like the show will take the time to build the character out. Anyone even remotely familiar with Tennant’s body of work knows that he has the acting chops to pull off a villain of this magnitude and it will be interesting to see just how dark he goes. Loeb went on to address their approach to the show, giving more insight into the tone. “When we first sat down and started talking about ‘Daredevil,’ what we said was, for all intents and purposes, it was a crime drama first and a superhero show second…One of the things we’ve talked a lot about is that ‘Jessica’ is in many ways a psychological thriller first and then a superhero show second.”
David Tennant will have his work cut out for him as The Purple Man but there are few more capable. Unfortunately, it may be tough to watch him as the whimsical 10th Doctor that we’ve all grown to love, after Jessica Jones airs.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones is set premiere late 2015 (tentative) on Netflix.