The Controversy of Casting the Purple Man

From intergalactic time hopping Doctor to a purpled colored villain, David Tennant’s life is never ordinary. It has been announced that David Tennant will become the much-hated villain known as the Purple Man in the upcoming Netflix series, A.K.A. Jessica Jones.


Tennant will play the man known as Zebediah Killgrave, aka the Purple Man, in the series.  Killgrave is quite literally purple, thanks to the contents of a container falling on him while he was undercover as a spy for the Soviet Union. Besides dying his skin permanently purple, the chemical altered his pheromones.  This granted Killgrave with very powerful mind control abilities.  So long has he is physically near a person, he can control them.  It’s been seen in comics that strong willpower is can break his control. In addition, the Purple Man has healing factor along the lines of Wolverine’s ability.  This allows him to survive near-death time and time again with minimal effort.

Purple Man

This is not the first time that a Time Lord has been a villain in a Marvel production. David Tennant’s predecessor, Christopher Eccleston aka the 9th Doctor, played the role of the dark elf Malekith in the film Thor: The Dark World. In addition, Tennant has villain experience under his belt, playing the role of the the dark wizard Barty Crouch Jr. in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

There’s a considerable amount of controversy surrounding the addition of Purple Man to the series.  In the comics, Killgrave used his pheromones to for  Jessica Jones into his servitude for eight months!  A large part of her origin involves hunting down Killgrave and returning his victims to their families, which did lead to her own capture.  However, it’s difficult to tell how much of Killgrave’s canonical treatment of Jessica will factor into the series, given it’s grotesque nature.

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If you’re interested in what exactly he did to Jessica in those eight months, these two panels explain it.  Be warned: while it’s just Jessica describing the event, it’s still deeply graphic and disturbing. While Killgrave never physically raped Jessica Jones, he did rape the other women to mentally torture her for those eight months.  He also used his powers these powers to father a daughter with one of the women. How this will play into Tennant has the Purple Man is still unclear, but from some audition videos it appears it may make it’s way into the series.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on it here at Word of the Nerd.


A.K.A. Jessica Jones will star actress Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, a woman that develops superpowers of super-strength, flight, and invulnerability after getting into a car accident and being doused with chemicals that landed her in a coma for a few years. One of her first and most disturbing villains is the Purple Man.


With all the Marvel shows going to Netflix soon, Jessica Jones and the Purple Man may crossover with the likes of Daredevil and Luke Cage. Only time will tell how successful the show will be.

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About the author

Ryan Martin

I am a marvelous nerd with many interests. The name is Ryan Martin, traveler to debater of the ideas that go into comic movies these are things I do. The mystical characters are the ones I find more interesting in series and I think that no one can completely dislike a series. You just have to find one character you enjoy. Buffy, Angel, and Charmed are shows I like.

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