The Marvel Cinematic Universe plans to sustain male domination straight through its recently announced five-year plan, with 2018’s Captain Marvel peering through as the only exception to the franchise’s Y-chromosome favoritism. But on the small screen, the Marvel canon is picking up the trend of highlighting some of its female heroes: first we got a Peggy Carter series, and then we caught wind of announcements of a Netflix series for Jessica Jones. The latter series is presently on the hunt for a star player, looking at a short list of candidates to embody the superhero role.
As it stands, Marvel is considering a collection of relative unknowns for the part, the most famous of the lot (by a mile) being Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23’s Krysten Ritter. The former ladyfriend and drug abuse enabler of Jesse Pinkman competes with four other young actresses at this time:
Alexandra Daddario, a recurring player in the Percy Jackson movies and substantial supporting character on the first season of HBO’s True Detective;
Jessica De Gouw, likely known best for her role as The Huntress on another comic book superhero series, Arrow;
Marin Ireland, who you might recall from Homeland, Masters of Sex, or The Divide;
And Teresa Palmer, who is the biggest name next to Ritter thanks to starring roles in Warm Bodies and Wish You Were Here and smaller parts in other films of note (Take Me Home Tonight, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and I Am Number Four).
When it comes to a character like Jessica Jones headlining
her own show, we must take special care with the performer we back to lead the
project. Jones will be introduced to the screen via this series, not ushered to
stardom from a supporting role a lá Peggy Carter. This means that the Jones
show will rest entirely on the appeal and intrigue of its character and story,
unable to benefit from direct connection to established material (like, in
Carter’s case, the Captain America films).
While this is hardly unique to this day and age — Arrow and The Flash are both canonically independent of the DC films — we have not yet seen the experiment embarked upon in connection with a female-led piece. Jessica Jones will be the first Marvel heroine that the MCU asks us to invest in from the get-go, without any padding from a male Avenger. Even if she is only being given a small screen platform, her role here is a big one. She’s got to win over audiences to pave the way for a future that allows for more than just a Captain Marvel picture every 19 movies.
As such, we might be best off looking to Daddario. While
Ritter and Palmer might outrank her in name recognition, Daddario has a
critical flare that seems only to be at its inceptive point right now. True Detective helped to instigate the
young actress as more than just a YA fixture — though any fans flocking in to a
Jessica Jones show from the Percy Jackson
community would be welcome newcomers to the Marvel scene.
At only 28, Daddario has yet to take off entirely, but this might actually be a check in her corner. Marvel has always opted for “new talent” in designing its franchises. Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and even Chris Pratt were hardly superstars before signing onto their respective Marvel projects. Though not an entirely unrecognizable name, Daddario will be able to shape her career around the Jessica Jones series, and vice versa. The two can grow in tandem, only attracting more eyes as time goes on.
While I’d allow hope toward casting of any of the mentioned young women, I’d at this point opt chiefly for Daddario. Marvel needs an actress that can make Jones a bona fide star character, and Daddario needs a role that will cement her as a pop culture fixture. And more than any of this, we need a Jessica Jones who works.
Images: Marvel.com; Getty (2)