Admittedly, it’s fascinating to watch Marvel build their Cinematic Universe as it applies to the small screen on Netflix. The movie and now TV branch of Marvel isn’t afraid of overlap, crossover, or pre-introduce characters before they get their own show. While “Daredevil” seems like it will be fairly stand-alone, “A.K.A Jessica Jones,” starring Krysten Ritter, already has Luke Cage (Mike Colter) as part of the show. His solo series won’t come out until later, but it’s a smart way to introduce a character, especially given that the actor isn’t well-known yet.
And it looks like the show will be doing even more world building. Today Marvel and Netflix announced that Aussie actress Rachael Taylor (“The Loft,” “Transformers”) will star as Patricia “Trish” Walker on ‘Jessica Jones.’
While there’s been some speculation and doubt that “Marvel’s A.K.A. Jessica Jones” will actually arrive in 2015, the press release says the 13-episode series will premiere this year, following “Marvel’s Daredevil.” More importantly, Trish Walker is known to fans as Hellcat, one of the super heroes that is a core member of The Defenders. And remember, the four Netflix shows, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and eventually Luke Cage and Iron Fist are said to build towards one big “The Defenders” show or mini-series.
According to Marvel (who doesn’t mention Hellcat), Trish is a syndicated radio talk show host, former model, and child TV star known to her adoring fans as “Patsy” Walker. As Jessica Jones’ closest friend, Trish helps her embark on the most dangerous case of Jessica’s career.
What’s interesting in the way that Marvel doesn’t name the character is how it sows the seeds: for all we know she doesn’t actually turn into the superhero until another series down the road. The Defenders in the Marvel Comics are not going to be the Defenders on Marvel’s Netflix. The original team featured members like Namor, The Hulk, Dr. Strange, Valkyrie, Nighthawk, the Gargoyle, Beast, the Son of Satan, and more. It’s unclear if we’re going to see some of the lesser known characters, but it’s probably safe to say Namor, Hulk, and Strange are out for at least now. For all we know those more minor characters could be introduced along the way, just like Hellcat. Luke Cage was one of the early core members, but what Marvel does on Netflix is clearly going to be unique from what has gone on in the comics. And as a way to bundle up its B-list characters into one big super team that could be immensely popular by say 2018 or so, well, that’s just smart business.
2/1/15 Update: Carrie Ann Moss has joined the cast. She will play Harper, a person in a position of authority who could prove a powerful ally to Jessica according to The Wrap.