“Marvel’s Jessica Jones” premiered to rave reviews Friday, but its success is partly due to the source material. “Alias” is the comic book series by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos that introduced the titular superhero. Both the show and comic follow Jessica (Krysten Ritter) as she deals with post-traumatic stress disorder, which stems from facing a villain she couldn’t defeat.
The Netflix show stays true to the tone of the comic books, which were published originally under Marvel Comic’s Max imprint. Ritter, who read all the books, noted the show pulls from the source material. “There are lines pulled directly from the comics,” she told AOL Build. “There are frames of the show that we would be like, ‘Oh look, we did that exactly.’ So there are a lot of exciting things there for the fans.”
However, several changes also were made. Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg explained that due to the rules of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), she couldn’t use the same storylines. “There wasn't a lot of plot I could take with me from the book,” Rosenberg revealed to the Hollywood Reporter. “But I certainly used as much as humanly possible because I was just such a huge fan of the book.”
Rosenberg had to alter quite a lot to make 13 hours of television. While some things were completely changed, other arcs became much more detailed. These are some of the biggest changes made from the “Alias” comic books to the “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” show:
[SPOILER ALERT: While the spoilers below won’t ruin the ending of either series, they still give away plenty about both the TV show and comics.]
1. Killgrave Mythology -- Jessica’s nemesis Killgrave (David Tennant) has almost a completely different story. While he still kidnapped Jessica, leaving her with a lot of emotional issues, their present-day story is extremely different. Killgrave escaped from prison in the comics while in the TV show, Jessica has to convince the cops that his mind control powers even exist.
2. Hellcat -- Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), who will eventually become Hellcat, replaces Carol Danvers/Ms. Marvel from the comics. It’s a different persona, but both serve the same purpose. They give Jessica a best friend that she trusts.
3. Luke’s Heroics -- Netflix's version Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is surprised to discover Jess’ powers because he has never met anyone like himself. He is keeping a low profile and hasn’t become Power Man yet. In the comics, he was already a hero and knew plenty of others. He was even rumored to be a “cape chaser,” meaning he only dated people with powers.
4. Malcolm -- Malcolm (Eka Darville) is helpful to Jessica in both stories, but his character is very different. In the show, he is a junkie who becomes part of a larger plan, but in the comics, he was a high school student who desperately wanted to help a former superhero.
5. Jessica’s Superhero Past -- In “Alias,” Jessica actually ran around in a tight costume with purple hair and used the code name Jewel. She even occasionally fought alongside the Avengers. Her heroic actions were less grandiose in “Jessica Jones.” She saved people from being mugged and getting hit by taxis.
She also never ran around in a suit although the TV show pays homage to the idea. Trish makes a white costume for Jessica, but the heroine laughs in her face. “The only place anyone is wearing that is trick or treating or as part of some kinky role playing scenario,” Jessica says.
6. No Big Heroes -- While Power Man and Hellcat’s origin stories are intertwined with Jessica’s, viewers don’t see any major superheroes. “Alias” featured appearances from Captain America, Ant-Man, Scarlet Witch and more, but these guys don’t show up in “Jessica Jones.” While the Netflix drama mentions several Avengers, it’s clear that Jessica didn’t achieve that level of success as a hero.
“Marvel’s Jessica Jones” is available on Netflix now. Did you catch any other major changes? Sound off in the comments section below!