We didn't really need another reason to be excited about the second season of Netflix series Jessica Jones, but showrunner Melissa Rosenberg just gave us a big one. During a panel at the Transforming Hollywood 7: Diversifying Entertainment conference at the University of Southern California on Friday, Rosenberg revealed that all 13 episodes of the new season will be directed by women.
Variety reports that Rosenberg had initially set out to book female directors first and male directors later, but she hadn't considered only hiring women until someone else on the production suggested it. Rosenberg called it "a conscious decision" to be more inclusive and added that "it's very important that showrunners do that."
It's especially important for a show like Jessica Jones, which is already a showcase for complex female characters and feminist issues such as rape and abortion. Putting more women behind the camera also fits with Rosenberg's wish to avoid popular tropes that favor the male gaze. She told The Hollywood Reporter of the show's title character, "She was never gonna put on the tight bandage dress and heels and go seduce the guy she needs information [from]."
The superhero genre as a whole is finally coming around to telling more female-centric stories on screen — and hiring women to direct them. Patty Jenkins is directing next year's Wonder Woman, and Marvel is reportedly looking for a female director to helm the upcoming Captain Marvel film.
It's an encouraging step towards equal representation in the entertainment industry. A recent study from the Directors Guild of America found that only 17 percent of television episodes during the 2015-2016 season were directed by women, with just 3 percent helmed by minority women.
Not included in that study was Ava DuVernay's new OWN series Queen Sugar, which also employed an all-female roster of directors for its first season. DuVernay recently became the first woman of color to direct a live-action film with a budget of more than $100 million.
During Friday's panel, Rosenberg added how important it has been to hear different points of view when developing stories for Jessica Jones. "When I interview a writer, I'm less interested in what you've been doing professionally than I am in where you're from, what your parents do, what's your life experience, what are you bringing to the table personally?" she said. "I don't want a bunch of people who look and sound [like me] and have the experiences I have."
That's an outlook we could do with more of in Hollywood.