Marvel’s Jessica Jones will only featuring female directors for its second season, meaning all thirteen episodes will have a woman at the helm. It seems like an obvious move, considering how female-centric the show is. That isn’t to stay that only a female director can tell the story of a woman, but when you look at the prevalence of white, male director in the industry, you start to wonder if having female directors is just about getting different voices into the cultural landscape.
More than anything I’m surprised there isn’t more backlash. Typically by now, we’ve heard the cries of “feminists ruin everything” and “forced diversity.” And save for a few tweets, no one has called foul yet. Perhaps because the producers made a good point — there really aren’t that many female directors in the industry. Game of Thrones, one of the biggest cultural phenomena of this generation, one had one female director amongst the 20 or so. In 2015, the Directors Guild of America found that only 17% of episodes were directed by women. The first season of Jessica Jones stands out with nearly double that percentage with over a third of its episodes featuring women directors. The film industry isn’t much better — only one woman (Kathryn Bigelow) has won a Best Director Oscar, and female directors accounted for only 9% of films in 2015.
Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar on OWN also only featured female directors for its episodes, and Marvel is already on the hunt for a female director for Captain Marvel (probably because DC got Patty Jenkins to direct the upcoming Wonder Woman film). If these properties turn out to be successful, more shows might adopt this policy, or maybe even other initiatives for directors of color.
The new season of Jessica Jones will start filming in November, alongside the new Defenders and will likely debut sometime in early 2018. This issue of the female directors may come up again once people watch the new season.