In the third and final season of Jessica Jones, the superpowered, hard-drinking detective is trying a new role on for size: hero. While Jessica could have become even more isolated and bitter after the death of her mother Alisa in the Season 2 finale, in Jessica Jones Season 3 she's actually inspired by her mom's final words about being a hero. Jessica has always been somewhat reluctant to use her powers to save people. But according to showrunner Melissa Rosenberg and star Krysten Ritter, everything that Jessica has gone through has brought her to this rather promising place in the final chapter — and it should make for a satisfying conclusion in the Jessica Jones Season 3 finale for both the characters and for fans.
Before Jessica's mom was killed by her BFF Trish, Alisa told her daughter, "Hero isn't a bad word, Jessica. It's just someone who gives a sh*t and does something about it." So Jessica tries to embrace being a hero as best as she can in Jessica Jones Season 3.
"The first two seasons were very much about Jessica looking backward, dealing with trauma and origins and her history and getting past it," Rosenberg tells Bustle. "So this season, we really wanted Jessica to be looking forward and really begin to examine building a future for herself."
Jessica was very much stuck in her tormented past in the first two seasons. But Rosenberg says that Season 3 has her living in the present. "She's resolved some issues for herself," Rosenberg says. "I think she's processed it to the degree that she's able to see something for herself other than through the bleak vision she's always had. She really has seen the possibility of wanting opportunity and the chance to prove something — to redeem herself in some way."
Even though Jessica Jones is a superhero show, Ritter notes in a separate interview that it's always also been an in-depth character study. So it was important for the star and showrunner to ensure that the show's ending reflected Jessica as a character. "I wanted to make sure that it felt true to Jessica. A little ambiguous — not tied up in a bow. Not perfect. But with a little bit of hope," Ritter says.
Ritter can attest to the fact that Jessica's ambiguity is part of her appeal. "Jessica has been a female character that's been really celebrated and really embraced for being as cool and tough and androgynous and strong and complicated and layered as she is," Ritter says. "When I go to Comic-Cons, all the girls that kind of look like Jessica go nuts for her. There was a void there before. There hasn't been a character like her that hasn't been based at all on how she looks or how she dresses. And I think that that's been refreshing for audiences and myself included."
As the first female Marvel superhero to lead her own TV series or movie in the MCU, Jessica Jones the show may have felt some obligation to represent "women's issues." But Jessica the character would never put such pressure on herself. "Jessica Jones is not defined by her gender. She's simply an interesting character and she's played by a woman," Rosenberg says. As for the lasting legacy of Jessica Jones, the showrunner adds, "My hope is that there will be more character roles for women that are like that."
Unlike the other canceled Marvel Netflix shows — Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Punisher — Jessica Jones gets to finish its story in Season 3, which means that fans will hopefully be satisfied by the ending. "I feel like we've really told a rich, intimate story about her and about all the characters in the show, so I feel really complete with it. It feels complete to me," Rosenberg says about the finale. "I really love where we land with her. It's a very satisfying place."
Ritter agrees. "Melissa and I worked really hard to make sure that we were crafting an ending that was satisfying for both of us. And both of us also take a responsibility to the audience, our fans, so seriously. People love Jessica. So yeah I think we did it. I felt good about it. I feel really proud of it." And while Jessica Jones herself is no optimist, it sounds like even she'd approve of her ending.