Like its titular antiheroine, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is breaking barriers.
For its second season, the Marvel-Netflix production recruited female directors to helm all 13 episodes — an achievement that aligns with the series’ reputation as an envelope-pushing, women-centric drama featuring a complicated female protagonist. Though more female filmmakers have entered the spotlight in recent years — 2017 saw massive successes from directors Patty Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, and Dee Rees — women directed only 11 percent of the year’s top 250 films, according to the 2017 “Celluloid Ceiling” study from San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film. Jessica Jones‘ female-led set in season 2, in other words, is a remarkable triumph.
Yet, having all 13 episodes directed by women wasn’t exactly showrunner Melissa Rosenberg’s goal when she pitched the idea in the fall of 2016. Instead, the accomplishment was a pleasant surprise. After all, she hadn’t even aimed that high when she floated the idea; at the time, she had simply hoped to bring on more female directors in general, until Netflix’s VP in charge of original series, Allie Goss, upped the ante. “She said, ‘Why not all 13?’ I was like, ‘Oh my God, of course!'” Rosenberg recalls.
And assembling the all-women lineup, it turns out, wasn’t hard to do. “It didn’t take a lot of effort to fill those slots,” Rosenberg says. “There’s a lot of highly qualified and talented female directors out there, so what we did was simply open the door. It wasn’t like we had to give a bunch of women their first break. It was just being inclusive.”
“It wasn’t like I was doing them any favors,” she continues. “They were doing us a favor by joining our roster. And, you know, we’re looking forward to the day when we’re not even having this conversation, we’re just talking about them as qualified people who happen to be women. Hopefully, we’re there someday, but now? Not yet.”
Which is why, ahead of the second season’s debut, the series has made sure to celebrate its female filmmakers by tweeting introductions to several of the directors. Take a look at the tweets below:
Marvel’s Jessica Jones returns March 8 (a.k.a. International Women’s Day) on Netflix.