As details leak out about the upcoming Daredevil/Jessica Jones/Iron Fist/Luke Cage Netlifix TV series, I get more and more excited.
First of all, I'm excited to see these characters get a second shot at the mainstream, after the travesty that was the 2003 movie (not to mention the 2005 female-fronted follow up, Elektra). On top of that, I am beyond thrilled to see Marvel do something on the small-screen that isn't an Avengers spin-off. DC is currently dominating TV (in terms of comic book adaptations, anyway) and as I'm a Marvel girl at heart, I want to see them do more. Finally, I'm interested to see what they do with four interconnected shows - the crossovers between Arrow and The Flash have been phenomenal, and I can only imagine what Marvel can do with twice as many!
Now we are starting to hear more and more from the shows as they get rolling, with the latest bit of news to drop being the casting of David Tennant in Jessica Jones (and, presumably, with appearances in the other four series). According to IMDB, he is a pretty major character, as he is listed in every episode of the series currently up. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean he is going to have a big role in each episode; he could just be a big enough part of the series to have his face in the opening credits, which would be enough to be credited in every episode. However, even without appearing in all thirteen, this still shows that he is going to be a major player in the Jessica Jones world.
It's not surprising that Purple Man (aka Killgrave) is going to be the first major villain for Ms Jones, and I'm delighted about what this could mean for the approach that the show is taking to her story.
First and foremost, for those unaware, Purple Man was one of the first villains ever faced by Daredevil. He appeared in the fourth Daredevil adventure (titled "Killgrave, The Incredible Purple Man", because comic books were incredibly straightforward back in the 60s), where we learned that he was a spy who was accidentally exposed to a nerve-gas (of sorts) that turned his skin purple and gave him the ability to control other people's actions when he is physically close to them. Deciding to steer into the skid, Killgrave started wearing all-purple suits and doing essentially whatever he darn well pleased.
Daredevil, due to his blindness and enhanced focus, is immune to his powers, but Killgrave continues to wreak havok on the people around him, before he is finally defeated and arrested (courtesy of a plastic sheet. Because this was the 60s). Since that first match-up, Killgrave has appeared in over one hundred issues, and while he may not be the best known of the Defenders villains, there are some solid reasons to bring him in from the start.
First and foremost, he is instrumental in Jessica Jones decision to abandon her fledgling career as a superhero and become a detective. Working as Jewel, she battled crime until the Purple Man took over her mind, did some fairly unspeakable things to her, and even tried to have her kill Daredevil. Luckily, she failed and managed to break his spell, but it was a major turning point in her life. As she is not a particularly well-known character in general pop culture, I think that it is crucial to see her giving up her role as Jewel, to really get a sense of who she is and where she comes from. This is especially important given that she later marries Luke Cage - I want to see her portrayed as a complete character on her own, not just as the wife of someone else.
Another reason to include Purple Man is his links to Daredevil. As I already mentioned, Daredevil is immune to his powers, and this leads to Killgrave using others to try and take him down. This creates a great story-arc to link the Daredevil and the Jessica Jones series, which should help boost the viewership of JJ, as Daredevil is a much bigger name.
I'm also hoping that we will see an incident between Purple Man and Karen Page. During his introduction, Purple Man develops something of a crush on Karen, using his powers on her and leaving it to Matt Murdoch to save his secretary (as DD, of course). It's a great example of the kind of event that leads to Karen's secret love for Daredevil - like many other early superheros, the woman of his dreams has a thing for his alter-ego and including this would be another great layer to the story.
Finally, Purple Man has always been something of an interesting villain for me, and I'm really excited to see where David Tennant takes him. Courtesy of his mind control, he has the ability to simply ask for whatever he wants, and have it given to him. It's a really fascinating power, and something that skirts the law in a lot of ways, which is a philosophical angle I would like to see explored. It also makes him a little more sympathetic - who could say that they wouldn't be tempted to walk into a dealership and ask for a Ferrari if they knew the answer would be yes? He didn't raise himself up to be a villain, any more than Daredevil or Jessica Jones made themselves super - they are all examples of chemical "accidents" that gave them powers. It would be nice to think that everyone would take the hero route if it happened to them, but I'm hoping to see a villain who isn't quite so dyed-in-the-wool bad, just taking advantage of an opportunity (which may be an angle we see, given Tennant's recent comments).
I'm sure that with four shows and a franchise like this one, we will see many villains taking to the screen as the Defenders become a team, but in the meantime, I'm thrilled to see Killgrave leading the charge. I'm excited about seeing some origin and watching the heroes grow into their roles, and casting David Tennant is absolutely perfect.
Jessica Jones will be coming to Netflix later this year.