“Jane the Virgin” has a particularly difficult task when it returns for its third season: address a potentially tragic cliffhanger but also maintain its lighthearted and comedic tone.
At the end of last season, Jane (Gina Rodriguez) had no sooner wed Michael (Brett Dier) when tragedy struck. As he left their hotel room to get some ice, he was shot by his cop partner, who was actually the villainous Sin Rostro (Bridget Regan) in disguise.
“We’re picking up four minutes after Michael is shot, and the drama of the first episode is: Will Michael survive?” creator Jennie Snyder Urman told IndieWire in an interview. “We had given them this magical, dream-like wedding. We’d been working really hard on the Michael and Jane storyline to get people to understand why she chose him and what Michael and Jane had that was so special. I think because we devoted so much time and storytelling energy to it, the wedding was really moving and the ending was really traumatic.”
The season premiere deals with the horrific aftermath of Michael’s shooting and shows that Jane and Michael’s other friends and relatives are coping poorly with the stress of his uncertain fate. The series lightens the mood by flashing back to the day after the couple’s fateful meeting at her 21st birthday party.
“The juxtaposition between the past and present and learning more about how they first met as we’re looking at where they are now … there are surprises in there that allows us to have fun,” Urman told reporters. “You meet somebody from her past … You learn it’s not the first time that Jane was in a love triangle, and Michael had a little competition for her affection.”
Check out what else Urman previewed what is in store for your favorite “Jane the Virgin” characters this season:
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Jane: Whatever Michael’s fate, Jane will cease being a virgin sometime this season. “We found a lot of points in which those expectations and anxieties that we’re feeling as storytellers that the pressure to get right, what it means in the larger context of the show and the character,” said Urman. “All of those are playing on Jane because she’s got those same anxieties: all the wait, all the build-up, what does it mean, how does it change you? So it’s a moment that the series I feel like dovetails with the character in a lot of ways. I just wanted to make sure that there were some unexpected elements to it and that we looked at it both emotionally as well as physically.”
As for the title “Jane the Virgin,” adjustments will have to be made once she’s divested of that virginity. “It’ll still say ‘Jane the Virgin,’ but then there will be a line through ‘virgin,'” Urman explained. “Then, depending on what we’re putting on top of that might say, ‘Jane the Guilty Catholic’ or ‘Jane the Person Who Doesn’t Like Her Mom’s New Boyfriend.’ It’s a way to me of identifying people are so much more than sex. So, this is a person with so many different identities and so many things that make her character an interesting person. Once we get rid of the virgin thing, we can just open it up to other things that define her.”
Meanwhile, Jane the Mother and Jane the Newlywed still won’t interfere with her career track. Urman added, “At a certain point she’s going to graduate and then she’s going to make some decisions about what she wants to do just in terms of her day job while she’s trying to achieve her dreams of becoming a writer.”
Mateo: “Mateo’s development is constantly going to be evolving and stressing and challenging Jane and Rafael,” said Urman. “But as [Mateo] grows, he’s going to be developing, and the challenges are going to be specific, particular and evolving. Having a baby is very different from having a toddler. Having a toddler is very different from having a 5-year-old. The great thing about kids is that every time you feel like you’ve figured something out, they learn new skills and they get to the next developmental phase, and your challenge is that you just feel like what you’ve mastered has become completely different.”
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Rafael (Justin Baldoni): The other leg in the show’s love triangle decided not to declare his feelings for Jane in the season finale and allowed her to get married without incident. “You’re going to see a different side to Rafael,” teased Urman. “When he watched her walk down the aisle, something shifted for him. You’re going to see that a lot. His family continues to be a source of pain and complication. But he himself is trying to forge a new path for himself.”
As for Rafael’s rebound tryst with his ex-wife Petra (Yael Grobglas), who in reality was her twin sister Anezka masquerading as Petra, that act will also have repercussions on his path this season.
Rogelio (Jaime Camil): Jane’s father will be busy as usual with his thirst for fame. “His second-best friends in the world, Gloria Estefan and Emilio Estefan, are coming. That’s very exciting for him,” Urman said. “He has two goals this year: One is he wants a baby, so he’s either got to find someone to have a baby with him or he’s got to find a way to find a baby by himself. And he’s trying to push to take his career to the next level, and ultimately makes a decision that he’s going to want to bring his telenovelas to the United States and adapt them. So you might want to see an American version of ‘The Passions of Santos.’”
Also, in seasons past, it was Alba’s (Ivonne Coll) status as an illegal immigrant that thrust “Jane the Virgin” into politically territory, but this year, Rogelio gets his turn to weigh in on the immigrant experience in America. (After all, his new telenovela has a penchant for traveling to politically and socially significant times in American history.)
“I think it is political,” she acknowledged. “We’re portraying a particular family with their particular, specific difficulties. The writers and the actors have a particular point of view. It’s something that we feel responsibility to continue to address and explore in ways big and small. The second episode is political and that’s something we’re not shying away from.”
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Xiomara(Andrea Navedo) and Alba: Xo’s rebound with Esteban resulted in pregnancy, and whenever that happens, you can be sure that her mother has strong opinions.
Urman said. “Xo has been very, very clear that she doesn’t want to have a baby, she doesn’t want to have a baby with Rogelio. That’s the reason that they broke up, and it’s the only thing that kept them apart, so we want to take her what she wants for her life and her choices very seriously as storytellers and see what that does, what she decides and how that influences the rest of the characters. She didn’t want a baby with Rogelio and she’s certainly not dying to have a baby with Esteban. And we’ll be getting into that quite early.”
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Sin Rostro, aka Rosa: The villain has been plaguing Jane and her friends for two seasons, and was last seen shooting Michael. Her track is slightly different this season though. And yes, she’s still in love with Rafael’s half-sister Luisa (Yara Martinez).
Urman said, “It’s a different kind of Sin Rostro story. You are going to be having some Sin Rostro because she’s gotten a lot of what she wanted at the end of last season and now she has Luisa. We’ll be trying to unpack her emotionally too. What happens when a villain falls in love?”
“Jane the Virgin” returns Monday at 9 p.m. on The CW.
(Additional reporting by Liz Shannon Miller)