Trish Walker’s not a superhero yet, but Jessica Jones’ best friend could one day follow in her comic book counterpart’s footsteps into the ranks of costumed crimefighters. And if she does, Rachael Taylor, the actress who plays her, will be ready.
There were plenty of signals in the first season of Marvel‘s hit Netflix series suggesting a strong possibility Trish may be eyeing some alter-ego style crime-busting in the future. From the intense fight training to the temptation to enhance her physical prowess with Will Simpson’s experimental drugs and her hunger to see justice done, there are more than a few reasons fans of her comic book inspiration (Trish is derived from Patsy Walker, heroine of a pre-Marvel Age romance comic who was brought into the Marvel Universe as the superheroine Hellcat) are hopeful to see her don a yellow and black costume in the near future.
With a second season of “Jessica Jones” now assured, Taylor told a small group of reporters — including CBR News — that while she isn’t saying a Hellcat appearance is a fait accompli, she readily admits that any evolution of her role is something she’s dying to throw herself into.
The relationship between Trish and Jessica is a complicated one, which people really responded to.
Rachael Taylor: One thing that I really liked about the portrayal of female friendship in the series is that it’s not perfect. They’re not just simply perfect friends that talk about boyfriends and their loyalty to each other all the time. When we meet them at the start of the series, there’s a been a betrayal — or Trish thinks there’s been a betrayal. Jessica has been in a really bad place and Trish feels that she’s abandoned her. So it’s an imperfect friendship. It’s complex.
There’s shades of, I think, jealousy in there. I think Trish would really like to see Jessica use her gifts, her superhero powers, to a greater extent than what she probably does. I think Trish is very much an alpha personality type. I think she’s a very ambitious woman. And I think probably, if she had the same superhero powers that Jessica had, she thinks that she would probably do a lot more with them.
There’s all of these interesting little dynamics in there, but ultimately, the thing that I really want to stay true to was the thing [showrunner] Melissa [Rosenberg] said so expressly from the beginning, that the female friendship is an anchoring element to this series. It’s a safe place in the series. There’s so much kind of toxicity with the other characters, and there’s so many different iterations of abuse going on throughout the show, that the female friendship is something that holds relatively pure.
They had a lot of fun with the hints of what Trish’s future could be. Was it exciting for you to see that development? Not just the working out, obviously, but then, when she took the pills —
One of the things I like so much about “Jessica Jones” is the comic book is called “Alias.” I think all of the characters have an alias in this series. They have an “also known as,” or a shadow personality. They have the character that they portray to the world, and then they have the character that they maybe don’t confess to themselves, or to their friends.
I think for Trish, she’s kind of stuck in a place of reconciling the fact that she used to be a child star and a celebrity, and was very much used to being in the driver’s seat in terms of public persona in terms of being the special one. Then of course, she meets her best friend who is extra, extra special in superhuman ways. And I think the gesture of taking the pill was about — I think for Trish, part of her shadow personality is that there’s a certain covetous part of her. I think she covets some of the things that Jessica has. I think there is an unholy ambition that sits just under the surface.
She declares it in the show. Jessica says, “What else could you possibly want Trish?” And Trish says, “Well, to save the world, of course.” Which is kind of a very unusual thing for a character to say. I do think there’s a part of her that would love to make it right in the way that she thinks Jessica could make it right if she was just to overcome her dysfunctions and put down the bottle.
Let’s say in Season 2 we go there and find out she’s going to become a full-fledged superhero. Are you excited at that prospect? Is that something you’d want?
I mean, I try not to get ahead of myself and think about it too much, because it’s easy to get carried away and think about things. You don’t want to count your eggs before they hatch, I guess, because we just found out about the second season today — and this is my first show that’s gone to a second season, so I’m super stoked.
I already feel like I have more than my share, in a way, being on Netflix, being in the Marvel Universe, being in this show that has resonated so deeply with people. But of course, I mean, it would be amazing. I mean, it’s already a privilege to play a history that has so much lineage within the Marvel Universe. And to take it that one step further is something that, yeah, I’d love to get my teeth stuck into whatever happens to the character.
Part of what Trish and Jessica do is push each other towards truth-telling. We saw one of the last scenes with Trish was that she has those files. Without giving anything away —
I’ve got nothing to give!
What do you think that something like that, exploring that history that she may not know much about is going to do for their friendship in Season Two?
I think it comes from, this is kind of speculative, but also some of the things that I built into the first season, I think Trish feels so deeply indebted to Jessica. Jessica was really the first person to love Trish kind of for who she was.
I remember looking at different child stars and seeing, I think, one of the common threads, or one of the dysfunctions or problems is that they have difficulty separating what they do from who they are, because they’ve been taught that their parents loving them is contingent on their ability to perform, whether that’s for child athletes, or child stars, or child performers or whatever.
I think Jessica met Trish at a part in her life where it was really the first person to say, I like you as a person. I don’t care about that “Patsy Walker” thing that you do. I like you as a person. I think that’s very meaningful to Trish. I think Jessica is the only person that’s ever done that to Trish. So I think there is a deep sense of debt to Jessica for that reason. I think she wants to find a way to immerse herself in the drama that is Jessica’s life and try and make it right for Jessica. I think she wants to save her.
That’s a double-edged sword. That’s not always a very healthy thing to have within a friendship. To want to try and save someone, that’s really not our business. But I think Trish thinks it is her business. I’m intrigued to see where that leads her, how far she’ll take it.
Are you excited for the opportunity to be in the Marvel Universe, the greater Marvel Universe outside of this show?
I mean, I don’t know if that’s going to happen, but I’m incredible humbled to be a part of the Marvel Universe at all. They have such a great history as well of really taking a risk on actors. They pick people that they want and they just kind of go and do it. I mean, this is the most exciting part of my career. This is a game-changer for me. I’m really lucky. I owe them my professional life, in a way, I really think.