Welcome to part two of the series where I overanalyze the use of color in television series like an English professor. We’ve covered the use of red in Daredevil, so let’s move on to the second Netflix series: Jessica Jones, and it’s use of purple.
Purple for Jessica Jones just makes sense – after all, Kilgrave is a comic villain named “The Purple Man”. In the original comics, not only are his suits purple, but so is his skin. In the series, the lighting is often purple – not surprisingly, usually in relation to Kilgrave or his “sway”. It is used primarly in Jessica’s Kilgrave flashbacks, and the scene where Luke is under his thrall.
But why did Marvel make Kilgrave purple in the first place? Why does purple work with the show so well, thematically? Let’s examine the meaning of the color purple.
Like all colors, purple has many meanings. It is, of course, the royal color – it is associated with power, wealth and luxury. It is ambitious and confident. These are all things Kilgrave appears to offer – on the surface. Keep in mind that Kilgrave is essentially the personification of rape and abusive relationships, even though he uses his powers to get his way. That is why he is associated with a color that demands respect. Purple is also associated with magic, a common color for fictional sorcerers. Dark purple is said to cause feelings of sadness and frustration.
In contrast violet, though technically a different color, is associated with sensitivity and humility. Over all, it seems very fitting thematically for a show dealing with magic, power, and most importantly – overcoming abuse and trauma.
Next up: Even though Luke Cage only has a trailer so far, it continues the trend of the Netflix color schemes. What color could that be?