Jessica Jones, the super-powered private detective, isn’t one for sappy goodbyes, so we’ll keep this short and sweet: Jessica Jones, the show, has been axed.
In fairness, after its fellow Marvel shows Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the superhero team-up series The Defenders were all recently canceled by Netflix, it became evident that Jessica Jones was not long for this world. The show debuted in 2015; a final third season has finished production and will air at a yet-unspecified future date, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Netflix also announced it was canceling its other remaining Marvel show, The Punisher, marking the end of the streaming service’s Marvel era.
While it was not without its road bumps, that era gave viewers more than just a lineup of shows about super-powered outcasts. When it was at its best, Jessica Jones stared down lazy stereotypes about women, tackling them with a blunt strength not unlike its lead character’s own special ability. Most crucially, this show gave its heroine, pitch-perfectly brought to life by Krysten Ritter, the space to be broken.
Jessica Jones rejects the word “perfect.” Even as it is her chosen profession, she is not a perfect detective. Her people skills leave much to be desired, and her interactions with her assistant Malcolm are typically snarky and curt, but she is damn good at uncovering the truth. Always the cynic, she is not a perfect superhero. She can be careless and violent, with a tendency to hit first and ask questions later, but when it counts, her moral compass points unwaveringly north. She is not perfect at relationships, likely a lifelong reaction to being orphaned then adopted by a callous pageant mom — but she is fiercely loyal and protective of her adoptive sister, Trish. And, perhaps most vitally, she is not a perfect victim. Her assault and exploitation at the hands of season 1 villain Kilgrave (played by David Tennant) left her struggling with addiction, depression, PTSD, and self-destructive behaviours, but she has a deep capacity for both sympathy and rage that, together, guide her to justice. In a time where we are reckoning with women’s voices and place in the world, Jessica Jones held so much potential.
Jessica Jones’ departure from Netflix comes as Marvel’s parent company, Disney, plans to unveil its own streaming service later this year. The platform, Disney+, will include both new and existing Marvel content — and, according to a THR Q&A with Disney+ chairman Kevin Mayer, also offers the possibility of a future revival of Jessica Jones and Netflix’s other “high-quality” Marvel shows.
But for now, we say goodbye to Jessica — and thanks for the ride.