David Tennant Confirms Whether He'll Be Back for Jessica Jones Season 2
Spoilers for season one of Jessica Jones ahead!
If you've seen the season finale of Jessica Jones, you know that she brutally snaps his neck after a 13-episode cat-and-mouse game. He's very clearly dead, to the point that Jessica is nearly arrested for his murder. However, since Kilgrave was such a breakout character and David Tennant's performance was so well-received, many fans were hoping that the character would display the same healing powers he has in the comics and come back to life for the (unconfirmed, but presumed) second season. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), Tennant has confirmed that he only signed on for one season, and won't be back for season two.
I was only looking to do one [season], so I didn't quite know where it was going to end up. But it wasn't a massive surprise for me. I knew I wouldn't come back for [season] two," the Doctor Who actor told THR. "Whether that meant I was going to be locked up in jail or dead, you never quite know with shows set in these worlds. But it was a perfect story arc. It was all about Jessica empowering herself and taking control and literally slaying her demons. It would have been unsatisfying if it didn't end with Kilgrave being put out of action.
Although his presence and charisma will definitely be missed, we agree with him that bringing Kilgrave back, or not killing him in the first place, wouldn't have made sense for the story arc. Jessica needed to rid herself of Kilgrave in order to gain closure on her traumatic experiences with him. And besides, shows often go downhill when they go through ridiculous contrivances to keep popular characters around, especially villains. Let us all remember Sylar.
Tennant also commented on the Kilgrave fandom that has popped up since Jessica Jones premiered, as some fans have become unexpectedly sympathetic towards his character, who is established as a rapist and murderer. Still, Tennant says he's not surprised that fans had this reaction:
I think it's all in the writing. It's so clever and keeps confounding your expectations. Clearly, Kilgrave has done some really awful, reprehensible things, but as human beings, when we understand what has landed people where they are, even if that landed them in a very terrible place, we can illicit [sic] a little bit of empathy. Listen, I don't think anyone's ever going to be rooting for Kilgrave for the win, as it were. But when someone is being brutalized and damaged, we can at least extend them some sympathy. And just when you thought you understand all these characters, and you know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, that's when they pull the rug out from under you.
Jessica is not a straightforward hero. She does some pretty brutal things, and she tests our sympathies. And Kilgrave is a very appalling creature, but just when we think we can lock him up and throw away the key, we learn why he is the way he is. While we don't forgive his actions, we are asked to understand them. Nobody is binary. The shades of gray are much more interesting. And it's not just Kilgrave. Like Simpson, he continually confounds you. You don't quite know where he sits on the moral spectrum. It's very real and very human.
I agree with Tennant that it's natural to feel some measure of sympathy for Kilgrave, since he had such a terrible childhood, although it's more disturbing that some fans seem to root for Kilgrave as a romantic lead. Let's just call it Christian Grey-itis and move on.
And finally, Tennant expressed amusement at the idea that people are having trouble re-watching his run as Ten on Doctor Who after seeing him play a sadistic villain so convincingly:
It's a funny notion. I'm delighted if I'm confusing people and keeping them guessing. I'm quite happy for that to be going on.
Season one of Jessica Jones is now streaming on Netflix.