Much like the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, the main stage at New York Comic Con was crowded with superheroes. Last year’s Marvel/Netflix panel introduced fans to the cast of “Daredevil,” the first of the streaming service’s five superhero series. This year, the cast of “Jessica Jones” made their debut onstage during a panel presentation that teased what’s to come for the new Netflix show as well as look ahead to “Daredevil” season two.
The panel started with moderator and head of Marvel TV Jeph Loeb rushing off stage to bring on Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) and Mike Colter (Luke Cage) to give the audience a tease of what the “Defenders” will look like. Loeb then reminded the panel that some of the clips that will be screened are mature, which is “what you get, you came to this panel. If you haven’t already seen ‘Daredevil,’ you should!” This drew a big round of applause. Loeb then lead the two halves of the crowd in a “DARE,” “DEVIL” chant.
Loeb then dropped the first clip – a sizzle reel of “Daredevil” season one and a quick bit of clips from season two, including footage of Elodie Yung as Elektra donning a red mask and Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) stalking the halls of a hospital.
Loeb then introduced Marvel CCO Joe Quesada to the audience, followed by “Daredevil” showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez. Newcomers Elodie Yung and Jon Bernthal took the stage to thunderous applause. Elden Henson, Deborah Ann Woll and Charlie Cox rounded out the cast members in attendance, receiving nothing but love from the crowd.
“It’s been an interesting year,” said Loeb. The Marvel TV head then asked Quesada about the project, saying that getting this show made has been a dream of his come true.
“Daredevil was one of the characters I always loved and he brought me back to Marvel,” said Quesada. “To see it brought to life with these scripts and this cast, I couldn’t have drawn it any better. It’s pretty phenomenal.
Ramirez talked about the second season, saying, “A lot of what we did last season was wonder if there was a place for dark and gritty content in superheroes, and because of the fan reaction, which was overwhelming, we got a loud answer of ‘yes.’ Now that we know that exists, you wanted grounded and wanted dark, here’s Elektra and Punisher. You asked for it.”
“Every day you go into work and I hate to use the word blessing, but it’s a blessing because all of us across the board, we love two things: one of them is Matt Murdock, and the other is the world that Matt Murdock naviagates,” said Petrie. “Last year, Steven S. DeKnight and Drew Goddard introduced that world, and now with Punisher and Elektra we get to take it further. We’re fans too, so the stuff you want to see we want to see, and we can’t wait to show it to you.”
Yung said that it’s “intense” playing Elektra. “I can’t be more happy really,” she said. Loeb said Elodie can “kick ass in real life too.”
“I’m a black belt of karate,” said Yung. “I did Muy Thai, I booked the job because Loeb asked if I was really a martial artist and, basically I can kick your ass. And I got the job.”
Loeb introduced Bernthal by saying that the Punisher is a part that he had conversations with Bernthal early on about. “Look, I know how important this character is to you guys, I know that,” said Bernthal. “I know how important Punisher is to law enforcement and the military, I look at this as a huge honor and responsibility, I give you my absolute word that I will give everything I have.”
When talking to Henson, Loeb said that there’s much love for “the Fog.” “People yell at me quite a bit,” said Henson. “People get really mad at me, strangers on the street, and ask why I was mad at my friend. He’s a superhero. I have to explain to them that I don’t write the show. I feel so lucky to be on the show and here.”
Woll fielded a question about the Murdock/Page relationship. “Yeah, absolutely,” she said, “I don’t know how far I can go in specifics, but Charlie Cox is one of my favorite people to work with as an actor. It’s been a privilege this season.”
Cox spoke to what he’s learned from playing Matt Murdock. “I think I spoke about this last season, but my apprehension about playing a man that’s the man without fear,” said Cox. “I feel portraying someone without fear on TV is not interesting; it robs you of one of my favorite characteristics, which is courage. What I’ve learned is courage, how much courage it takes to be a vulnerable human, but also a vulnerable superhero. It’s a cool journey to be on.”
“Acting blind is incredibly challenging,” said Cox, answering a question about his experience playing blind. “It’s challenging for all of us because I can’t look them in the eye and they can’t look me in the eye. I was really blessed because I was invited to the American Foundation of the Blind and I was given an award; that’s been so rewarding. It’s been a blessing I never expected. It’s one of the things i love about Daredevil. He’s one of the few superheroes that has a disability.”
A fan asked how being attached to the show has changed their lives. Yung said that she hasn’t been recognized yet. Benthal though, said that he gets warnings 15-20 times a day that he “better not mess this up.”
“Honestly, I don’t get stopped that often, and when I do I get, ‘you know who you look like?'” said Woll.
After a question about costume design, Quesada talked about Joshua Shaw, who will design the costumes for “Daredevil’s” characters – as well as a couple of other characters that “might be here.” “We see photos from the fittings and they look so awesome,” said Quesada.
When asked if flashbacks will factor into season two, Petrie said sometimes you want to peel back the layer of the onion through flashback, or “two people in a room talking can have all the power in the world. That’s something we get to pick and choose. We think we’re making the best choices in that regard.”
A fan asked if “Mr. Loeb could show that clip again,” and they obliged.
The screen then switched over to the “Jessica Jones” logo, and Loeb introducing Netflix’s second series. “This character, most of what we’re talking about this panel, would not be possible without the work of Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos.” Loeb introduced showrunner Melissa Rosenberg, and castmembers Erin Moriarty (Hope), Eka Darville (Malcolm), Will Traval, (Det. Will Simpson), Carrie-Anne Moss (Jeryn Hogarth), Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker), Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and series lead, Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones). The announcement of Moss’ character was an “NYCC reveal.”
After being fully assembled, the cast sat down. Screams for “David Tennant” rang out throughout the panel room, with Loeb saying, “Be patient.”
Rosenberg talked about the crazy ride of “Jessica Jones,” saying it’s taken four years to get the show going. “It’s an extraordinary payoff.”
Loeb said that Moriarty couldn’t talk much about her character, but the actress said that since she’d worked with Melissa Rosenberg before, she was with a work family. “It was a nice feeling going into it; I primarily worked with Krysten and Carrie-Anne, these strong kick-ass women playing amazing roles. I was just happy to be a part of a show like this, telling this story. It was amazing.”
Darville said that it’s amazing to be involved in the show, but he’s worried about getting sniped by the Punisher if he says anything he shouldn’t. “When we meet my character, he was in a dark space which was something I didn’t have the chance to do before. Now to see it on screen, it’s such a reward because this show kicks ass.”
“I’d worked with Mel before and known Rachael for a number of years,” said Traval. “There were a lot of things I was excited about other than living in New York and working on a Marvel series.”
When focus shifted to Moss, a “Matrix” veteran, Loeb talked about the role of Hogarth – traditionally a male character. “It’s been a lot of fun,” said Moss. “You pitched it to me on the telephone, and then Melissa pitched another layer of it, and every one of these scripts, at some point I went ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe that just happened.’ It’s rare for me because I read a lot of scripts and I’m rarely surprised. The writing is impeccable. Our lead at the end there is amazing. As someone who has embodied that female warrior action person, to see Krysten Ritter do it on a whole other level is so exciting.”
Taylor plays Jessica’s best friend and confidant. “What a great part,” said Taylor. “The canon of Marvel history, the information available is epic. Melissa told me to stay on this show with each episode, but one of the reasons why I wanted to do this part is because of the richness of the female friendship. Melissa has done this amazing thing; the friendship is flawed and complicated and loving and there’s all these shades of jealousy and real life girlfriend kind of stuff. I haven’t seen that depicted on TV in quite that way. Then when I heard Krysten Ritter was playing Jessica – there is no other actress that can embody the deep emotional backstory stuff that’s needed and still make it super sassy and funny and has this dark humor.”
After completing six months of shooting “Jessica Jones,” Colter had six minutes of sleep and a baby girl, and then he went on to shooting “Luke Cage.” “Everything Jeph said is true,” said Colter. “It was like signing on to a new best friend. Marvel is all-encompassing. It seems so long ago that Krysten and I were in the same room doing a chemistry read. I didn’t know what we were getting into. I was trying to figure out who Luke Cage was and they were giving me vague answers, like Marvel, saying ‘sign the papers, it’s going to be good.’ I don’t know how, I didn’t see any scripts, I just said yeah, and when I got the scripts from the lovely Melissa Rosenberg, the scenes were so simple but real and grounded. Yes, we are working on ‘Luke Cage’ right now, but it’s a different world.”
When it came to Krysten, Loeb pointed out that there’s an empty chair next to her. “There’s a story about Jessica’s background and that’s brought about by a terrible man who doesn’t see himself as terrible,” said Loeb. That character is Kilgrave, played by David Tennant. Ritter was then asked what it was like working with David: “David Tennant is magic, and watching him work – I learned a lot from him. His performance and range, he could be funny and then incredibly vulnerable and scary with just one small turn. He’s also a joy to be around, one of the best scene partners I could ever ask for. Jeph said from the beginning that they’d give us the best writers, cast, special effects, music, and he did that.”
Loeb then broke everyone’s heart by saying that Tennant is in London right now, but they played a clip of the actor greeting the fans and introducing a clip from the series — not a clip, the first episode. The panel room erupted in cheers as security clamped down on phones and laptops and the episode began to play.
After the episode finished, Loeb brought the cast out one more time for the audience.
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