As of this writing, the status of the Marvel Netflix heroes appears to be in limbo.
If you're reading this, then you're no doubt aware of the fact that Netflix has cancelled Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. And it appears that Jessica Jones and The Punisher are similarly fated to get the axe. For some, this is good news. More than just a few people were left feeling unsatisfied with the creative direction that the staff at Marvel and Netflix chose to take the characters on these shows and view this wave of cancellations as a way of bringing them into the larger Marvel Studios controlled MCU (where Kevin Fiege and his team get to run the show). Personally, I have a hard time believing that Marvel and Disney have any plans to introduce the characters of the Marvel Netflix universe into their feature film lineup or their upcoming Disney+ streaming service...at least not without completely rebooting and recasting the entire thing ( I mean, I can't really see "The House The Mouse Built" giving a green-light to Luke's "coffee breaks" or Frank's cell block killing sprees). So I think it's safe to say that no matter how you slice it, this appears to be the end of the line for these versions of Matt, Jessica, Luke, Danny, Frank, and the rest of the crew.
Still, I don't think I'm alone when I say that I'm pretty invested in the storylines of the Marvel Netflix universe as well as the actors associated with the roles (yes, that includes Finn Jones). So while it pains me to think that everything is coming to an unresolved end (Misty and Colleen ...what could've been) I gotta say, that I really enjoyed the ride. I would also like to jot down a few ideas that have been bouncing around in my head ever since the news of the first cancellation came down. And to that end, I give you my fancast for a big budget Jessica Jones film set in the full-on Marvel Studios MCU. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
AND AS ALWAYS, BE WARNED...THIS IS A DETAILED READ (A.K.A. A LOOONG READ)
Private detective Jessica Jones gets a message from a young girl named Janice who thinks that her mother is an alien "..or something". Initially she tries to chalk it up as just a kid making a prank call, even though there's something in the girl's voice that doesn't sound quite right. After reaching out to the high school senior at school and making sure that the kid isn't in any kind of trouble or crying out for help, she reluctantly agrees to "look into it" after listening to the noticeably shaken teen's story. After taking a few days to do some digging, Jessica abruptly stops looking into the mother's past when it becomes clear that the mom is less of a space alien from Mars and more of an illegal alien from Kosovo. But before she can let the kid know that her mother's secret may need to remain a secret for now, both the mother and daughter go missing after their home is violently attacked. Now Jessica finds herself in a race to rescue her young client and her mother from a relentless threat that is more powerful than anything she's ever faced.
Actress Krysten Ritter
Based on the Marvel character.... Jessica Jones
Personality Traits - Direct. Pragmatic. Guarded. Sarcastic. Morally flexible. Quickly adapts to rapidly changing events. Cunning. Quick witted. Persistent. Observant. Good hearted and well meaning. Independent.
Enhanced Abilities – Jones possesses superhuman strength, an enhanced resistance to certain types of physical injuries (when compared to ordinary humans), limited flight capabilities, and an increasingly high resistance to most psychoactive drugs and psychological manipulations due to her extended exposure to the mental controls of the criminal Kevin “Kilgrave” Thompson. Also, an unexpected side effect of the new “destructive release therapy" (aka unleashing a lot of her pent up anger on broken down cars in a Brooklyn junkyard) that Jessica has taken part in with her therapist is that her strength levels and durability both appear to be increasing with more frequent and uninhibited use.
Where We Find Jessica At The Start Of The Film – Since the events that took place at the Playland Amusement Park and the resulting death of her mother, Jessica has made great strides in a bid to piece back together both her personal and professional life. She has grown closer to both her boyfriend Oscar Arocho and his son Estevido – having recently gone out on a few real dates with Oscar and steadily learning more about young "Vido" as she helps him and his friends work on their superhero fan-site. Although she still hasn’t fully resolved things between herself and her adoptive-sister Trish Walker, the two have managed to start communicating with one another again (albeit via text messages).
As part of an agreement made with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Jessica must see a court-appointed therapist, a Dr. Ashley Kafka, for continuing treatment of her PTSD and work towards completing 500 hours of court-ordered community service to avoid criminal prosecution for the part she played in helping her fugitive mother evade arrest. Taking her background as a private investigator into consideration, the D.A.’s office arranged for Jessica to fulfill her community service hours by assisting the NYPD Cold Case Squad in re-examining their ever-growing collection of unsolved cases. During her time with the squad, Jones has built unique friendships with many of the detectives in the unit, especially the well-respected veteran investigator named John Laviano.
Vesna Stassov/Stasha Yanizeski (Whiteout)
Actress Annabelle Wallis
Based on the Marvel character.... Whiteout
Personality Traits– Private. Enigmatic. Protective of her family. Dedicated. Thorough. Determined. Rigid. Hard to read. Overly cautious.
Enhanced Abilities – Stassov possesses the ability to emit a form of light energy from various parts of her body. This light energy can be used in a number of different ways, including: temporarily blinding targets through the use of “flash-bang” like attacks, inducing trance-like states in targets via a strobe effect that emits from her eyes, encasing herself in a faintly visible protective energy field, and charging her body with an extremely painful, electrostatic form of her light energy that can be fully transferred to another person on physical contact. The intensity and duration of any particular energy attack appears to be related to Stassov’s emotional state at the moment of its origin – with attacks performed during moments of calm lasting only a few minutes and attacks performed during moments of fear and anxiety having the longest lasting effect. Stassov can also cancel (“draw out”) the effects of her attacks (i.e. blindness, pain, trance-like states, etc) at anytime prior to them naturally wearing off – but she must be physically near her victim(s) to do so.
Where We Find Vesna At The Start Of The Film – Vesna has left her life as a Kosovar refugee and as a captive of secretive organization called Aurelius behind her and has reinvented herself as Stasha Yanizeski – an immigrant of Macedonian descent who is in a loving marriage and is dedicated to her daughter Janice. Hoping to avoid drawing the attention of the organization that held her and Janice captive for so long, Vesna maintains a strict and regimented life that avoids drawing any attention to herself or her past and makes sure that she is never out of touch with Janice or her husband Walter for too long. While Walter - a lawyer working for Amnesty International - has accepted his wife’s secretive nature as a fundamental part of who she is, her daughter has become more and more curious about her mother’s past. With intense practice over the years, Vesna has gained a greater level of control over her enhanced abilities – occasionally using her powers to “sway” others as a means protecting her past, as a way to benefit her family financially, and as a way of steering “undesirable” people out of her daughter’s life.
Melina Vostokoff (Iron Maiden)
Actress Noomi Rapace
Based on the Marvel Character....Iron Maiden
Personality Traits – Resourceful. Driven. Adaptable. Calculating. Aggressive. Strong-willed. Methodical. Battle-hardened. Dangerous. Ruthless.
Enhanced Abilities – Outside of being an expert combatant and marksman, Vostokoff does not possesses any enhanced abilities. In fact, as a result of her run-in with Vesna years ago, Melina has moderately diminished control over her fine motor skills (i.e. writing, holding small items, turning pages, etc). Once inside of her armored tactical suit, however, Melina’s natural strength, durability, reaction time, agility, and speed are all augmented to superhuman levels. The suit’s helmet also nullifies the effects of Vesna’s light-energy abilities.
Where We Find Melina At The Start Of The Film – Melina Vostokoff is a highly trained covert operative for an organization called Aurelius - which works in secret to "push humanity to its fullest potential". Ever since the night a woman named Vesna Stassov’s escaped from an Aurelius facility in Britian and seriously injured her and her life long friend Brian in the process, Melina has dedicated nearly every waking moment of her life to finding and recapturing the Kosovar refugee and her child. She has suffered long lasting physical effects from her last confrontation with Vesna, but has pushed herself relentlessly through the anguish and pain that still lingers in her body. Valuing her commitment to their mission of changing the world - as well as the sheer determination that she showed during her rehabilitation and recovery - the higher-ups at Aurelius have worked very closely with Melina in her efforts to track down Vesna and her daughter.
Dr. Brian Dunlap (Ogre)
Actor Joshua Jackson
Based on the Marvel Character...Ogre
Personality Traits – Brilliant. Imaginative. Bookish. Clever. Quiet and reserved. Insecure. Eagar to please. Socially awkward. Diligent. Slightly unhinged.
Enhanced Abilities – Although Dunlap does not possess any enhanced abilities, he is an exceptionally gifted engineer whose knowledge and expertise spans a wide range of scientific disciplines.
Where We Find Brian At The Start Of The Film – As the lead researcher that studied Vesna Stassov during her time at the Aurelius facility, Dr Dunlap has an understanding of his former research subject’s abilities that is deeper than anyone else in the world. While he doesn’t hold a grudge against the young woman for not only blinding him for several weeks but also leaving his eyes too damaged to withstand any amount of light greater than a dimly lit room, he does hold some malice in his heart for the way that her attack has so drastically changed his close friend Melina Vostokoff. Although he believes Melina’s obsession with enacting some sort of revenge on Vesna will ultimately prove to be self-destructive and won’t bring her the sort of resolution that she truly needs, he is no less dedicated to helping his lifelong friend achieve her goal. As a result, Dr Dunlap has fashioned a wide array of weapons and equipment for Melina – including her state-of-the-art “Iron Maiden” tactical suit – to help her excel in her work as a field operative for the Aurelius group while also adding special features that should one day give her an edge in her rematch against Vesna.
Olivia Stassov/Janice Olivia Yanizeski (Joystick)
Actress Maddie Ziegler
Based on the Marvel Character...Joystick
Personality Traits – Engaging. Spontaneous. Outgoing. Enthusiastic. Lively. Impulsive. Competitive. Has trouble with respecting boundaries. Dramatic at times.
Enhanced Abilities – Janice possesses a form of her mother’s light-based energy, which allows her to supercharge her physical strength, speed, reaction time, stamina, durability, and agility to superhuman levels. She can also conduct and store a limited amount of this energy into certain metals for powerful offensive and defensive purposes.
Where We Janice At the Start Of The Film – Janice Yanizeski is an outgoing, active, and somewhat rebellious senior at Summit Academy: NYC who idolizes soccer star Alex Morgan and singer/actress Lady Gaga. Hoping to go to college “out west”, the young woman finds herself gravitating towards the University of Arizona because of its women’s soccer team and its undergraduate program in physiology. While working on one of her scholarship essays, Janice begins questioning her parents about their pasts and her extended family. While her step-father is more than willing to share information with his daughter, her mother Stasha (whose real name is actually Vesna Stassov) become increasingly evasive about her past. Tensions boil over between the two when Stasha loses her temper and gets into a heated argument with her daughter. Hours after the squabble is over, Janice is quietly awakened in her bed by her mother, who sits down next to her daughter, offers up a heartfelt apology, then reluctantly attempts to use her “swaying” ability to convince the curious teen to stop trying to look into her mother’s past. Once she is done using her enhanced abilities in an effort to redirect her daughter’s curiosity, Stasha loving tucks her daughter back under the covers and quietly heads back to bed. However, the process only had the effect of temporarily paralyzing Janice inside her own body before causing her to fall into a deep sleep. The young girl awoke the next morning remembering everything that happened with her mother – especially her eerily glowing eyes and how Stasha’s voice seemed to coming from inside her own head – but did her best not to let on. After spending a few days wrestling with the secret encounter and trying to figure out what to do next, Janice gets in contact with someone that she believes can help her find out what other secrets her mother may be hiding – a private detective named Jessica Jones who has a history of dealing with cases involving enhanced individuals.
Chancellor Naledi Cassandra (Chancellor Cassandra)
Actress - Lorraine Toussaint
Based on the Marvel Character....Chancellor Casssandra
Brief Background – The woman known as Chancellor Cassandra is an enigmatic figure who serves in the highest levels of leadership within a shadowy international organization known only as Aurelius – which is itself a splinter faction of the authoritarian organization known as HYDRA. Using Aurelius’ vast resources and connections, Chancellor Cassandra has helped to advance HYDRA’s goals of establishing a new world order through clandestine control as well as advancing the evolution of mankind through scientific and mystical manipulation.
Actress - Chris Agos
Based on the Marvel Character....Walter Yanizeski
Brief Background - Walter Yanizeski is the devoted husband of Stasha Yanizeski and loving stepfather of Janice Yanizeski. He works as a lawyer for the human rights organization Amnesty International, which is how he met his wife. When a series of events leads to his wife's mysterious past coming back to threaten his family, Walter works with private investigator Jessica Jones to help find his missing wife & daughter - who go on the run after the two are attacked in their home.
Actress - Carrie-Anne Moss
Based on the Marvel Character....Jeryn Hogarth
Brief Background - Jeryn "Jeri" Hogarth is a no-nonsense and resourceful lawyer who is a frequent employer and occasional friend of Jessica Jones and a professional colleague of Walter Yanizeski. Using the resources of her firm, she helps Jessica in her investigation of the Aurelius organization and provides the Yanizeski's with a place to lay low once Jessica catches up with an on-the-run Stasha and Janice.
Dr. Ashley Kafka
Actress - Alyssa Milano
Based on the Marvel Character....Ashley Kafka
Brief Background - As part of Jessica's plea aggrement with the New York district attorney's office, she has to agree to continuing treatment of her post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Ashley Kafka is assigned to Jessica's case because of her noted skills as a psychologist, her past work with the organization SHIELD, and her past experience working with other victims of Kevin "Kilgrave" Thompson.
A FEW PLOT POINTS
1. HOW PEOPLE DEAL WITH PAST TRAUMAS
Ideally, "Jessic Jones: Whiteout" would be a more action-oriented "chase movie" that would find enhanced humans Vesna "Stasha Yanizeski" Stassov and her daughter Janice on the run from the relentless assassin Melina Vostokoff and an equally determined Jessica Jones. However, during the moments between action scenes Vesna should be forced to confront the trauma's of her past: her early years as a Kosovo War refugee and being seperated from her daughter and held captive by the Aurelius organization. Melina should also be forced to reflect on how the unresolved traumas of her experiences in The Second Congo War (particularly her run ins with child soldiers) have lead to her developing an unhealthy fixation on Olivia/Janice. Finally, Jessica should use her past experiences with Kilgrave, Trish, Alisa, and others to offer a bit of insight an wisdom to both Vesna and Janice.
2. HOW JESSICA IS STEADILY EMBRACING HER ROLE AS A SUPERHERO
While I wouldn't expect Jessica to fully embrace the whole "tights & laser fights" role of other superheroes in the MCU, she should absolutely take on a anti-hero/protector role once she realizes that her investigation into Stasha Yanizeski's past inadvertently lead to the events that now threaten a young client and her family. She should go all out in her defense of the pair while they are pursued by Iron Maiden, Ogre, and Aurelius operatives. Ideally, there would also be a brief moment where Jessica uses her abilities to help the NYPD Cold Case squad apprehend a dangerous suspect.
3. HOW THE NEW CHANGES IN JESSICA'S LIFE AREN'T NECESSARILY A BAD THING
On a couple of occassions, Jeri, Dr. Kafka, and even Trish should make comments about how Jessica has noticeably changed since she and Oscar started dating as well as since she started her new "destructive release therapy". While she should instinctly react with a sarcastic or snarky comment, she should also grow to accept that she is in fact changing for the better. Ideally, there would be a particularly funny scene where Jessica causes an extreme amount of damage to a broken down vehicle as Dr Kafka teases Jessica about eventually becoming a cupcake baking PTA mom living out in the 'burbs.