With its first season getting not just a ton of buzz but also extreme critical praise, it seems quite likely that Jessica Jones will be coming back for a second season. Whether that happens before or after The Defenders - the big crossover series bringing together all the Netflix Marvel heroes - remains to be seen, but I feel confident in calling this one: we’re getting more Jessica Jones.
But where does the series go from here? Jessica Jones season one mined the most interesting and televisually promising storyline from the original Alias comic, altering it enormously along the way. Jessica Jones herself doesn’t have much of a rogue’s gallery, and she has very few iconic storylines to adapt. What’s more, there are only 28 issues of her solo comic; after that she fairly quickly married Luke Cage and had his child, finding herself often relegated to Mom Who Hangs Around Various Avengers.
There could be some nuggets mined from the Alias comic. In the first story arc Jones accidentally discovers Captain America’s secret identity and the corpse of his girlfriend; there’s all sorts of political malarky along the way. That story doesn’t work in the MCU (even if they could get Chris Evans to appear on the show) because Cap doesn’t have a secret ID. Perhaps Daredevil could be swapped in for Cap? But even if he were, it wouldn’t have the same impact of getting Captain America involved in a noir story of corruption.
The second Alias arc is the one most suited for TV… except the character you would need to make it work doesn’t exist. In that storyline Jessica is hired by the wife of perennial Marvel Comics sidekick Rick Jones to find him. Jones is a great character who has been the buddy of heroes as diverse as The Hulk, Captain America and Captain Marvel, threading a weird teenager’s view through Marvel’s Silver Age. But there is no Rick Jones in the MCU, and there’s no character with the same history or connections. It’s too bad - Rick should have showed up in Phase Two, replacing the ‘dead’ Coulson.
Those two arcs are probably the most Netflix-ready stories in Alias, but neither will work without such major retooling that they basically cease to exist as stories. Which is going to have to happen anyway - without any serious villains of her own or other major stories, Jessica Jones will have to blaze new ground. But if showrunner Melissa Rosenberg wants to stay in some contact with the source material she could shove the next two storylines together to make something bigger and something that could fit into the groundwork laid by the show already.
In one story arc Jones travels to upstate New York on a job to find a missing girl who was rumored to be a mutant. There’s a lot of sleuthing and snooping and a local sheriff ends up dead, but SPOILERS it turns out the girl was never kidnapped or taken for her mutant powers. Instead she run away to New York City to be closer to the superheroes she admires. That story, while interesting, is too small to maintain an entire season… but if you mash it up with the next storyline things get interesting.
In that story Jessica Jones ends up trying to help the new Spider-Woman, a young girl, who is hooked on drugs and being used as the source for Mutant Growth Hormone - a powerful drug made from the tissue of mutants. Jessica cracks the case with the help of the original Spider-Woman, and returns young Spider-Woman to her parents - who happen to be J Jonah Jameson and wife.
What if the girl from the first story replaced young Spider-Woman in the second? What if Jessica tracks her back to New York City - where she went to be a superhero - and discovers that the girl had fallen into a drug trade headed by Leland Owsley’s son, Lee, mentioned in the first season of Daredevil? What if Trish Walker has been partaking of this drug to maintain her new nighttime activities as Hellcat?
Of course it couldn’t be Mutant Growth Hormone, but it could be Inhuman Growth Hormone. The company that operated the truck in Jessica’s powers-granting accident? IGH. I think Inhuman Growth Hormone is a weird name for a company, but here we are. Bringing in Inhumans in season two could mean bringing in agents of SHIELD, by the way, including Clay Quatermain, one of Jessica Jones’ exes. It would be nice to bring the ABC show somewhat in line with the Netflix series - they wouldn’t need to have an actual crossover, but having a SHIELD agent investigating Inhumans makes sense.
The biggest plus for this storyline - Jessica gets super-powered foes to fight thanks to the side effects of M/IGH. In season one she had to pull just about every single punch because all of her physical opponents were brain-washed Kilgrave zombies. Having people hopped up on a super-power granting drug opens more doors for violence and more engaging fight scenes. Lee Owlsey showing up as The Owl isn’t the most exciting villain possibility, but there’s probably a lot that can be done with such a low-level baddie. And while we will never see Spider-Man on one of these shows, maybe his supporting cast could show up - it would be neat to see the new JJJ pop in on Jessica Jones.
The other possibility, of course, is that Melissa Rosenberg and her incredible team of writers go completely original, perhaps using another street-level Marvel villain as the antagonist. A Spidey bad guy like Mysterio or Chameleon would be fun, and at the right power level to appear on TV but not in the movies.
But this is all just me fanning out; whatever Jessica Jones season two brings, I’ll be there - the first season’s complete excellence has bought the creative team absolute benefit of the doubt.