MELISSA ROSENBERG, executive producer of Netflix Original Series Jessica Jones, has revealed that season 2 of the critically-acclaimed show would be directed exclusively by women directors. While the production team had already made a commitment to hiring women directors for the season, they decided to double down on that commitment and go the full nine yards, Rosenberg told attendees at the Transforming Hollywood 7: Diversifying Entertainment conference held in Los Angeles last Friday, October 21st.
It’s a decision that seems especially fitting, considering the scope of Jessica Jones‘ first season. It centers around the struggles of the eponymous character to help the victims of a sociopath with mind-control powers, while also dealing with the PTSD left in the wake of her own harrowing and drawn-out encounter with the villain. Fans and critics alike praised the show for its nuanced, realistic portrayal of topics like sexual assault, trauma, and rape, as well as its complicated heroine and other female characters. An all-women stable of directors can only make sure that Season 2 will continue to treat these issues — and the show’s female characters — with the complexity, weight, and respect they deserve.
2016 has seen many actresses, directors, and fans taking Hollywood to task for continuing to be overwhelmingly white, hetero, male, and cis when it comes to the talent it employs both in front and behind the camera. Jill Soloway, creator of Amazon’s smash hit Transparent, has vowed to pull trans artists out of the obscurity they often find themselves in and hire more trans writers, actors, and directors as the show continues to be produced. Ava DuVernay, the first black woman director to ever be nominated for a Golden Globe or Best Picture Academy Award (for 2014’s Selma), has long been a voice for gender and racial parity in the film industry. Foreshadowing Melissa Rosenberg’s direction for Jessica Jones, DuVernay also made sure to only hire women directors for her show Queen Sugar, which details the intricate story of a black Southern family and currently plays on the Oprah Winfrey Network. And earlier this year, Lily Wachowski, formerly referred to as Andrew, shared her true identity with the world. The Wachowskis’ show Sense8, which also debuted on Netflix this year, was met with favorable critical reaction, and even won a GLAAD Media Award for its nuanced presentation of LGBT characters, themes, and issues.
While Rosenberg’s announcement will no doubt have Jessica Jones fans sitting on the edge of their seat, they’ll have to wait a bit longer; in July of this year, Netflix COO Ted Sarandos stated that Season 2 of the show would not premiere until at least January 2018. While it would be nice to see more of Jessica before then, it’s even nicer to see Netflix commit itself even more fully to producing quality feminist entertainment. In the meantime, let’s hope that this trend of hiring women to direct complex, interesting films and shows only continues.