‘Jessica Jones’ Season 2 to be Directed Entirely by Women

Photo Credit: Marvel/Netflix
October 24th, 2016

When Jessica Jones returns for season two, it won’t just focus on women in front of the camera, but women will be in charge behind the camera as well. The word is out that the entirety of season two will be directed by women.

The announcement was made by showrunner Melissa Rosenberg at the Transforming Hollywood Symposium on Friday. In addition to acting as showrunner, Rosenberg also had a hand in writing several of the scripts in season one.

In season one of Jessica Jones, only four of the thirteen episodes of the series were directed by women.

To those whose initial response to the idea of an entire 13-episode-season seeing all female directors is, “So what? Shouldn’t the best person get the job? Why should it all be women?” - women in the television industry have likely been wondering the same thing for the last few decades that men have been dominating it. The majority of jobs behind the scenes, from the executives at the top of TV networks and studios, right down to the production assistants and runners on set, are held by men.

For the 2015-2016 TV season, women in positions of power behind the scenes - that is to say producers, writers, directors, etc. - made up only 26% of the job field according to research out of San Diego State University. That’s reflected on screen as well where 79% of the shows on television featured more male than female characters. Of course, there are many series that have their favorite directors to work with because they have a proven track record. But when producers are more likely to give a chance to an unproven male director than a female director, it becomes harder for them to even the playing field. If you go by TV standards, it’s still a man’s world.

Jessica Jones isn’t the only series in Hollywood looking to change that though. There are plenty of television networks and individual series which have been looking to get more women in creative control. Lifetime, a network historically aimed at women, also has predominantly male directors and writers for their TV series and original movies. They’ve made a dramatic increase in the number of women in the director’s chair, like UnREAL star Shiri Appleby getting the chance to direct episodes of the soapy faux reality TV series.

Ryan Murphy has also been opening up his shows to more female directors, acknowledging in a recent interview that if his series, which employ many critically lauded women in front of the camera, aren’t employing them behind the scenes, they, too, are “part of the problem.” Angela Bassett directed an episode of American Horror Story this season with Sarah Paulson to direct an episode next year, just to get the ball rolling for Murphy’s own production company.

Troian Bellisario also directed an episode of the upcoming final batch of Pretty Little Liars episodes. Bellisario, who has both written and produced short films in the past, will make her directorial debut for the series that she’s starred on for six years.

Of course, what you’ll notice with the aforementioned women is that Appleby, Paulson, Basset, and Bellisario were all given directorial opportunities on series that they already appear on in front of the camera. These women have already been working in the spotlight for, in most cases, decades. They aren’t fresh-out-of-film-school-directors that studios are taking a chance on or directors known for indie projects that suddenly get a big budget movie. But they are a sign of the (very slowly) changing times. Showrunners and producers are ready to look beyond the usual TV suspects to give women with a vision their shot.

While it doesn’t seem like series stars Krysten Ritter or Rachael Taylor would be directing for Jessica Jones season two considering how much time they’ll have to spend in front of the camera, it will be most interesting to see who gets those 13 episode gigs. The search begins this week for directors as Millicent Shelton pointed out on her twitter account.



Shelton has experience directing across all genres of television, and she’s even seen a few superhero director spots in her day. She’s led the charge on episodes of The Flash, Empire, Scandal, The Originals, and more over the last year alone.

We look forward to seeing the creative direction Jessica Jones is heading. Season 2 of the series will begin filming in early 2017, likely for a 2018 debut on Netflix.