Marvel and Netflix decided to join forces and create a pretty smart plan. Marvel wanted to take four single characters – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist – and give each of them their own television series. This was huge and exciting news, with fans having just learned that Marvel acquired the rights back to Daredevil from 20th Century Fox. But the joy wasn’t going to stop there. Along with their own shows, these heroes were eventually going to meet up in their own standalone miniseries titled The Defenders.
Well, it’s finally time. Marvel’s The Defenders arrives on Netflix this summer. After two seasons of Daredevil and the first season of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, which debuts this March. Fans have been eagerly awaiting this miniseries since early 2014. But even people who are not comic book fans are looking forward to this show making its debut. For them, there is a whole host of information and backstory that they are not yet familiar with.
Well, this list should come in handy for those folks. There is so much to get into here. If you’re gearing up for the release of The Defenders and want to know everything there is to know, then look no further. We’re going to discuss some spoilers from the Netflix shows, as well as from the comics. From the characters and their motivations to the origins of the very first issue of The Defenders. Here are 20 things you need to know about the team and the upcoming series.
Daredevil/Matt Murdock got his own series in April of 2015. Young Matt was blinded as a child, but getting chemicals in his eyes allowed his other senses to increase in sensitivity. Along with that, he’s spent the next several years of his life training in martial arts. So he certainly isn’t anyone you would want to mess with.
More than likely, Matt will be somewhat of the de facto leader of the team. Even though he doesn’t seem to play well with others, not unlike Jessica Jones. Matt spent the first and second season wanting to do things on his own. But it was obvious that he couldn’t really handle everything all on his own, a fact that is going to be even more obvious when The Defenders finally airs.
19. Jessica Jones
Much like Matt, Jessica also suffered a chemical accident when she was young, but also coupled with a car collision. This resulted in her waking up in the hospital and having superhuman strength. We got the first season of her show in November of 2015, after the first season of Daredevil. Krysten Ritter will begin filming the second season once she wraps up production on The Defenders.
Jessica is also someone who isn’t too keen on working with others. Although if you watched her show, it’s perfectly understandable why her personality is like this. Among the group, she will be the detective, perhaps a bit more so than Matt. Maybe somewhere in this miniseries, we’ll finally see her be able to fly. You can always hope for it.
18. Luke Cage
A man wrongly convicted, Luke Cage is still going to be in prison at the start of this show. We see how he’s handling civilian life after escaping in the first season of his show, which aired in September of 2016. Claire was offering Luke the help of an attorney, which turns out is Matt Murdock. So at some point in The Defenders, can we expect to see Matt trying to get Luke out of prison somehow? We’ll have to wait and see.
Luke may certainly be the oldest of the bunch, and therefore maybe have a bit more wisdom than the others. He served in the military and has unbreakable skin with superhuman strength, so he’s definitely an asset worth keeping around. He still has a thing for Claire, but it will be interesting to see if anything is rekindled between him and Jessica.
17. Iron Fist
Iron Fist, aka Danny Rand, is the only member of the group who has not yet had their show premiere. The first season of Iron Fist is set to debut this March. Danny Rand’s story is particularly interesting and by far the most supernatural. Danny is able to carry and utilize the mystical force known as the Iron Fist. This gives him great enhanced physical attributes and strength.
Apparently, Danny will be the one who really understands how dangerous the threat is. This sounds like he’ll understand The Hand better than Matt will. It will also be interesting to see his dynamic with Luke Cage, considering their decades-long friendship in the comics. Hopefully, they’ll strike up a good bond pretty quickly once they begin interacting.
16. The Punisher
There is a pretty decent chance that we will see Jon Bernthal as The Punisher in The Defenders miniseries. We were first introduced to Frank Castle in the second season of Daredevil last year. It served as an origin story for the character since we only got to see him in his Punisher outfit in the very last episode of the season. But, Bernthal is still currently filming the solo Punisher series, so we’ll be getting a whole lot more of him sometime soon.
It’s very likely that the character could pop up at some point in The Defenders. It would most likely be because of Daredevil since the two already have an established history. He showed up to help Matt fend off those ninjas on the rooftop in the season two finale. He could do something similar in The Defenders.
15. Misty Knight
Misty Knight, played by Simone Missick, was far and away one of the best aspects of the first season of Luke Cage. Misty is an NYPD Detective, working at the 29th Precinct in Harlem. She’s tough, intelligent and does not suffer fools gladly. She was able to build a pretty solid relationship with Luke, though they were somewhat adversarial towards one another at one point. The actress has already confirmed that she will be making an appearance in The Defenders, which should not be a surprise to anyone.
She’ll more than likely be interacting with Luke and possibly a few other characters. Seeing as she didn’t get her bionic arm in the first season of Luke Cage, perhaps it could happen in The Defenders? Or will we have to wait for the second season of Luke Cage?
14. Claire Temple
Claire Temple, played by Rosario Dawson, is the only character with ties to Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. We first saw her introduced in the first season of Daredevil, playing what many fans believed to be the Night Nurse. She had a brief romantic relationship with Matt Murdock, but that ended and she eventually had a thing for Luke Cage. A relationship between Luke and Claire did actually happen in the original comics. She even helped Jessica Jones out in the season one finale of her series and we’ll have to wait to see what role she plays in Iron Fist.
13. Foggy Nelson
Foggy Nelson is Matt Murdock’s right-hand man, business partner and best friend. Naturally, he’ll be returning for The Defenders. Someone has to be by Matt’s side to make sure he doesn’t dig himself too deep into a hole he can’t get out of. This is basically what Foggy did throughout both seasons of Daredevil. Once he found out that Matt was Daredevil, he was not happy with it at all, but eventually came to begrudgingly accept it. At the end of season two, they both go their separate ways and are no longer working together.
12. Sigourney Weaver
Every great superhero team needs a worthy villain. Legendary actress Sigourney Weaver was announced as the villain of The Defenders last year. Not much is known about who she is playing, but her character’s name is going to be Alexandra. Co-showrunner Marco Ramirez had an interesting way of describing the character. “Sigourney is the kind of person you can buy as the smartest person in the room, who you can also buy as a person holding a flamethrower. Her character is a very powerful force in New York City. She’s everything Sigourney is: sophisticated, intellectual, dangerous.”
11. The Hand
We have even more villains that are going to be going up against our heroes. Along with Sigourney Weaver’s Alexandra, we also know that The Hand will be in The Defenders. They are essentially a large group of evil mystical ninjas, that were subtly set up in both seasons of Daredevil. They are mercenaries, they’re assassins and have been involved in organized crime. In the comics, Daredevil would eventually accept the role of their master, following several battles against them.
Needless to say, this probably won’t be happening anywhere in The Defenders. Now, in the Daredevil solo series however…darker things have happened and will happen. We’re not exactly sure how The Hand and Alexander are connected, so we’ll just have to wait and see when the miniseries airs this summer.
Stick can be heard in the teaser trailer for The Defenders, letting our heroes know what kind of threat they’re up against. Stick, played by actor Scott Glenn, first appeared in the first season of Daredevil. He is blind and helped train a young Matt Murdock in the ways of martial arts. Years later, Stick came back to the city to prepare for some impending war. It looks like that war is about to happen this summer.
Perhaps Stick will be somewhat of a mentor figure to Matt, as he always has been, during the miniseries. No telling if he will play a large role in the story, the character may only make a quick cameo. Our four heroes may end up needing all of the help they can get.
This is someone we only got a small glimpse of in the first season of Daredevil. It’s possible that we will see this character appear in The Defenders, though this has not been confirmed. Stone is a pupil of Stick, someone who has trained under his watch for years after Stick decided to stop training Matt. Stone is a highly trained martial artists and is a member of the Chaste, a mystical martial arts enclave whose sole purpose is to defeat The Hand.
To see Stone popping up alongside Stick in The Defenders would certainly make sense. As he is not a villain, but could be a very useful ally. As stated earlier, the threat might require all of the help necessary.
We last saw Elektra dead at the end of Daredevil’s second season. But she can’t possibly be dead, seeing as she will be returning this summer for The Defenders. It seems that Elektra was the Black Sky that was mentioned in the first season. The Hand get a hold of her body and will seemingly be bringing her back to life. Only this time, she won’t be fighting alongside Matt and his friends. To see her come back in a villainous role only makes sense. The character toed the line between good and bad during her appearance in Daredevil.
7. The Showrunners
Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez took over for Steven S. DeKnight as showrunners for the second season of Daredevil. The season got great reviews, so naturally, Netflix/Marvel wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to continue working with them. So, they were brought back to serve as showrunners and executive producers for The Defenders. This is a good and safe call to make, simply because these guys are already familiar with the characters, the tone, and the universe being created on Netflix.
If you were a big fan of Daredevil season two, there’s no way you’re not going to love The Defenders. Now that they have more characters to play with, it will be interesting to see how they are all handled together. Petrie and Ramirez will also presumably be back for the third season of Daredevil.
6. It’s An 8-Episode Miniseries
The Marvel/Netflix shows up to this point have all been 13 episodes. This includes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. It’s a safe bet to assume that The Punisher series will also consist of 13 episodes. But that formula is going to be put on hold for one very special event. The Defenders will indeed be a miniseries, consisting of only 8 episodes. While some may view this as a bit of a disappointment, this could actually be a bit of a blessing in disguise.
For one, the show will have 5-less episodes than the other shows. So it will have to hit the ground running and not stop. This could make the show tighter and more focused, ultimately creating much better content than the regular shows.
5. The Original Comic Series
Though it will be cool to finally see Matt, Jessica, Luke, and Danny on screen, we have to remember the origins of all of this. That’s right. The Defenders is surely not a totally original concept. It was thought up decades ago in the comics, with completely different characters. The first issue debuted in December of 1971 as a feature in Marvel Feature #1, and they soon got their own book. The roster originally included Doctor Strange, the Hulk, and the Sub-Mariner. Later on in issue #4, Steve Englehart added the character of Valkyrie.
4. The New Defenders
A brand new iteration of the book was created in 1983. Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer, the Hulk, and Namor the Sub-Mariner were forced to walk away from the team. The brand new lineup featured the X-Men Angel, Beast, and Iceman, along with Valkyrie, Moondragon, and Gargoyle. This team was more of a standard superhero team, to match something like the Avengers. But while DeMatteis felt the change was necessary, he ultimately realized he wasn’t happy writing the book, so he left.
But this team would later recruit other members, like The Southern Belle, Seraph, Cloud, Andromeda, and Manslaughter. Moondragon fell under the control of the Dragon of the Moon, which then caused her to battle the Defenders. This would lead to yet another iteration of the team and series.
3. The Secret Defenders
The Secret Defenders debuted in Dr. Strange (vol. 3) #50 in February of 1993. The founding members of this iteration of the team were Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Ghost Rider and Silver Surfer. Strange served as the original leader and recruiter for the group. This iteration of the team was less organized than the previous versions. Some temporary members would swing in and out, depending on the mission. Some only showed up for one mission and never came back.
Some of these additional heroes included Spider-Man, Wolverine, Northstar, Nova, Thunderstrike, Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Sleepwalker, and Nomad. After each mission, everyone would disband and only meet up again when necessary.
2. 2005 Miniseries
Yet another iteration was created in 2005. This was a 5-issue miniseries by Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire. As a team, these three were best known for their work on DC’s Justice League series. In this miniseries, Doctor Strange decided to wrangle together the original four members of the Defenders to fight a new threat, his nemesis Dormammu and Umar. This series was different than those that came before it simply because of its humor. Our heroes weren’t so much battling in intense action sequences on every other page. Rather, they would humorously argue with one another.
1. The New Comic Series
Even with all those iterations of the team, more were still to come. Brian Michael Bendis will be writing a brand new Defenders series for 2017. This new iteration of the team features the actual members from the Netflix miniseries: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. It’s only smart that Marvel pull this marketing move as they try and appeal to those who will be tuning into the miniseries this summer on Netflix. Bendis is also one of the best writers over at Marvel right now, so there’s no doubt that the series is going to be good and entertaining.
Bendis told the Hollywood Reporter: “I wanted to do a sprawling, Godfather-like epic at the street level of the Marvel Universe, really putting out hooks down and creating a modern, elaborate organized crime story that is different than what has gone before, but builds on everything that has happened to these characters, as individuals or as a team, and putting them in the hardest battle for the street that anyone can imagine.”