‘Jane The Virgin’ Team Talks Importance of Representation, Taking Final Season Back to Series Roots
After five years, multiple time jumps and a number of timely storylines, in addition to takes on telenovela tropes, “Jane The Virgin” is coming to an end on the CW. While there may be some pressure to end the show on a positive and powerful note, it’s not a pressure that is completely foreign to series creator and showrunner Jennie Synder Urman.
When she was first developing the show, Urman shared at the show’s final farewell Paleyfest panel in Hollywood, Calif. Wednesday, she felt “pressure to make sure the representation felt good to the actors and the writing team.”
“I just wanted to authentically represent these characters and tell a lot of stories [that] women can be different in so many ways. There’s no right or wrong,” Urman continued. “It’s all been so much more than I could have expected.”
For series stars Gina Rodriguez and Andrea Navedo, the positive representation of Latina women was crucial in wanting to be a part of the series from the start.
“I saw Latina women hold the household together. That was the model I grew up with, but I didn’t see it reflected in media,” Navedo said. “I knew I had the odds stacked against me; I knew I wasn’t the popular type.” Navedo shared she almost quit acting because of how hard it was to find roles, but “Jane The Virgin” has given the women in her family a chance to be “seen.”
And Rodriguez added, “I have been raised by such strong women, so it’s lovely to continue to be around them … advised by them, protected and loved by them.”
One of the reasons Urman made the character of Alba Venezuelan, as opposed to Puerto Rican, like portrayer Ivonne Coll’s true heritage, was because she knew from the outset that she wanted to be able to talk about immigration. But as the show went on, the topicality started to feel more “critical,” she explained.
“I wanted to make a joyful show with a heroine at the center who was good and positive and…conflicted. I wanted to show that good people are interesting, too,” Urman said of the original mission. But “as we continued on, the world changed and our mission and what we wanted to say became more urgent.”
Before “Jane The Virgin” comes to an end, it will be going back to its roots.
“There are a lot of echoes of the pilot in this first script, and that’s going to be something that we’re continuing through the season — seeing how people have evolved and how you can be in a similar situation but everything is different about it now, and how five years have changed us,” Urman said.
What the cast and creator said they hoped people took away from the show when it was all said and done, though, was the representation of Latinx individuals and of strong women — as Navedo put it, “I see you” — and empathy for all individuals.
But Justin Baldoni added that he felt the show also exhibited the importance of bravery, especially in an industry run “predominantly on fear.”
“The same shows get made, the same stories get repeated. What was so unique about this show is that it said something and it did something,” he said. “This show’s a perfect example of a show that makes you want to be a better person. … With this day and age with all of the things happening in the world, I hope people see it’s possible.”
The final season of “Jane The Virgin” premieres Mar. 27 at 9 p.m. on the CW.