How the Jessica Jones Showrunner Went Around Marvel’s Limits


Last November, Marvel expanded upon the darker Netflix universe displayed in the first season of Daredevil with Jessica Jones, a neo-noir thriller. The show follows the titular hero, Jessica Jones – played by Krysten Ritter – as she attempts to reason with and stop the powerful and influential villain, Kilgrave. Throughout the series, the showrunner and creator, Melissa Rosenberg, juggled this journey with a variety of themes not typically found in PG-13 Marvel movies. Because of these themes, ranging from abortion to interracial relationships, Marvel placed limits as to how far Rosenberg and her team of writers could go in their portrayal.

Above all, one must understand that Marvel is a brand and placed these limits out of necessity. However, during a recent installment of The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Drama Showrunner Roundtable, Melissa Rosenberg went into detail on where Marvel drew the line with the Jessica Jones series, and how she managed to sneak around it.

When asked about when or if she had been told “No,” in regards to telling stories in the show, Rosenberg explained the limits placed on her from the beginning. “No F-bombs. And If anyone was going to say ‘F–k,’ it would be Jessica Jones. Sometimes I was just like, ‘Please, just let me put one.’ And… never.”

However, Rosenberg did find a creative way to get around that limit. “But, what’s funny is people have said, ‘She didn’t say f–k? I could have sworn she did.’ That’s because Ritter can deliver ‘f–k’ with her face. Her look says it. She could be saying ‘potato.'”

What? No Nudity??

Rosenberg then talked about the most controversial part of the show. “And the other thing is, there’s sex to some degree that wasn’t really any nudity.” Because of the limits placed by Marvel, nudity was actually restricted.

However, Rosenberg also found a way to successfully allude to nudity. “But then people are saying, ‘There was no nudity? Wait a minute, that was really graphic sex.’ It was all about the attitude, how its shot, how its acted with raw lust.”

To her credit, Rosenberg even crossed lines not placed by Marvel but by TV stereotypes. When asked about the tropes she avoided when writing a female superhero, Rosenberg replied, “She [Jessica Jones] was never going to play the honey pot. She was never going to put on the tight bandage dress and heels and go and seduce the guy she needs information from.” 

You can see for yourself just how Rosenberg got around these limits by watching Jessica Jones on Netflix, starring Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, David Tennant, and Carrie-Anne Moss. Don’t forget to check back at The Source for more updates on Jessica Jones and all your favorite superhero shows, movies, and comics!