Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix series became a huge smash-hit upon its release late last year as it told a powerful, dramatic story with a flawed but compelling female lead. However, as is the case with many female-led stories in film and TV, it was up to predominantly male directors to put it in front of the cameras. While Series 1 of Jessica Jones had three female directors (S.J. Clarkson for Episodes 1 and 2, Rosemary Rodriguez for Episode 10 and Uta Briesewitz for Episode 11) they were still outnumbered 3 to 1 by their male counterparts. But that still put Jessica Jones ahead of the curve for a mainstream television series, especially when the male to female split at American film-schools is 50/50 yet female directors are only at 9% within the industry.
For Series 2 the Jessica Jones team looks set to change those ratios. According to Variety showrunner Melissa Rosenberg spoke at a “Transforming Hollywood 7: Diversifying Entertainment” panel on the USC campus. During the talk, she opened up about the new slate of Jessica Jones directors. She said that when Series 2 was announced, she aimed to increase the roster of female directors by booking female directors first and then contracting male directors at a later date, an idea Marvel was completely on board with.
But apparently an unspecified someone in the production team suggested that maybe they should book only female directors for Series 2. Rosenberg said she never thought about that prior to the conversation, but now it is her goal for the next 13 episodes. If this happens, it’ll put Jessica Jones in rare company with Selma director Ava Duverney’s TV series Queen Sugar, which had only female directors during its first series.
The numbers are slowly shifting as female directors start becoming more prominent in the film industry. This is especially notable in recent months, as the arrival of Bridget Joneses Baby became the second movie trilogy of all time to be directed entirely by women (the first being The Matrix Trilogy). Marvel is also looking at hiring a female director for the upcoming Captain Marvel. The shortlist for that film is allegedly down to Niki Caro, Lesli Linka Glatter, Lorene Scafaria and Rebecca Thomas.
Netflix’s next Marvel premiere will be Iron Fist in March 2017. The Defenders and The Punisher will launch later in 2017, while Series 2 of Jessica Jones drops in 2018.