As a comic book team, The Defenders date as far back as 1971. That initial bunch of heroes is vastly different to what we’re soon to see when Marvel’s The Defenders lands on Netflix imminently. Back then, the team was made up of the truly super-powered likes of Doctor Strange, Hulk, Silver Surfer, and Namor. While that lineup had literally every possible power and planet covered, the Netflix take on the team is operating on far more of a street level as it brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
Ever since Marvel and Netflix began colluding back in 2013, the endgame at that point in time was always to get to where we are now: to the eight-part The Defenders miniseries. As such, Charlie Cox’s Hornhead, Krysten Ritter’s Alias hero, Mike Colter’s Power Man, and Finn Jones’s Danny Rand were all booked in for their own shows before they would all ultimately come together to fight a greater threat.
So, here we are, four years and five seasons later, and Marvel’s The Defenders is finally here. With anticipation rightly high after the success experienced and plaudits given to Marvel’s Daredevil, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Luke Cage, and Marvel’s Iron Fist, all we can do is hope that The Defenders will be as good as we all want it to be.
With that said, though, here are 7 reasons why the show will be a huge success and 7 reasons why it could absolutely bomb!
14 Why It Could Suck: Too Crowded?
Sure, each of the four heroes’ solo shows has featured appearances from other heroes – be they super-powered or not – but each season to date has been made up of thirteen episodes. So, if Trish Walker has a supporting role in Marvel’s Jessica Jones, that’s fine. If Misty Knight helps fight the good fight in Marvel’s Luke Cage, great. If Colleen Wing lends a hand to Danny Rand in Marvel’s Iron Fist, perfect. And when Frank Castle or Elektra turn up to cause chaos in the second year of Marvel’s Daredevil, that’s brilliant and doesn’t take away too much from keeping the Guardian Devil as the primary focus of the show.
With Marvel’s The Defenders, though, we’ll have the foursome of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist all battling for meaningful screen time in the eight-episode miniseries. Added to that, Frank Castle, Elektra, Stick, Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Trish Walker, Jeri Hogarth, Malcolm Ducasse, Misty Knight, and Colleen Wing are all confirmed to be a part of the action, too.
So, too crowded? It could well be, but we’ll have to wait and see.
13 Why It Could Suck: Has The Interest Waned?
Clearly, Marvel’s Netflix-exclusive shows got off to a flying start with the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil. After that, the Krysten Ritter-headlined Marvel’s Jessica Jones took things in a truly dark direction that wowed many. Then came Marvel’s Luke Cage, a sleek, stylish show that hit different beats as its predecessors but still impressed.
By the time Marvel’s Iron Fist landed on Netflix earlier this year, sadly, it seemed as if many casual fans had no real interest in the Danny Rand character or the show in general. Is this indicative of a lack of interest in Iron Fist as a character, or is it a more worrying indicator that interest in this small-screen world is starting to wane?
12 Why It Could Suck: Why No Avengers?
It’s never been shied away from that Marvel’s Netflix shows do indeed take place in the backdrop of the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we’re yet to see an appearance from a Steve Rogers, a Tony Stark, or a Black Widow.
In fairness, this element has been used expertly well so far, with the focus being on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist as they take on bad guys of a largely street-level nature. But with Marvel’s The Defenders? Well, the whole reason for these four heroes coming together is because there’s a threat that’s more powerful than any of them can handle, a threat that has potentially world-changing implications.
So, with such an ominous, leering threat about to step out of the shadows and change the entire landscape of New York and beyond, you’d think that maybe, now would be a good time to put in a call to Cap or Stark.
11 Why It Could Suck: No Iron Fist Outfit
The topic of Danny Rand’s outfit – or lack thereof – was a huge talking point amongst many longtime Marvel fans when Marvel’s Iron Fist landed on Netflix in early 2017. Regardless of whether you felt it was needed or not, the simple fact of the matter is that Finn Jones’ Rand never got to suit up and take on the character’s famed comic book costume.
While there’s yet to be any official confirmation of Rand suiting up anytime soon, Jones has actually been shown in the gym with a Defenders t-shirt that seems to show the silhouette of an Iron Fist who looks to be wearing something remarkably similar to what comic book fans will be familiar with.
Whether Danny Rand does indeed get a fancy new get-up won’t exactly make or break the series, but if he doesn’t, then many fans will again be left feeling disappointed.
10 Why It Could Suck: Predictable
It’s going out on a limb here a little, but it appears that all of Marvel’s Netflix shows – as is also the case with the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe and the movie industry in general – adhere to an age-old formula that's never anything but predictable.
The standard formula for a one-hero adventure usually sees the main characters with a bit of a swagger at the get-go, only to then be brought to their knees and have to reassess everything they thought they knew before they rise up once more to save the day. We’ve seen it in cinematic Marvel outings from Iron Man to Doctor Strange, and the previous Marvel/Netflix shows have again stuck to the same basic formula, if not a tad more spaced out given the season-long structure.
With Marvel’s The Defenders, having four main character means there’s a slightly different dynamic, but we can still expect the initial dilemma – in this case, getting the four to successfully work together – to be ultimately calmed before our heroes save the day.
Tried and tested? Sure. Predictable? Most definitely.
9 Why It Could Suck: The Hand
In the comic book world, The Hand is an organization that has so often been lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike out at some of Marvel’s beloved heroes. The problem with the group, though, is that they so often feel like nothing more than fodder for certain heroes to run through and easily defeat.
With Marvel’s Netflix shows, Madame Gao has been well used, but pretty much anything else where The Hand has been involved has felt a little weak, and the numbers of ninjas feel sadly far too reminiscent of the so-so Foot Clan and Foot Soldiers of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series. And by that, it basically means they’re just easily disposable bad guys who are just there to get in the way rather than be seen as a genuine threat.
Of course, a lot of The Hand’s role will be revealed as Marvel’s The Defenders progresses, but right now, there’s absolutely no buzz about the villainous group whatsoever – even with the prospect of Sigourney Weaver’s mysterious ‘big bad’ of the miniseries being tied to the organization.
8 Why It Could Suck: The Need To Make The Villain Relate To Each Hero
While Sigourney Weaver’s main villain of Marvel’s The Defenders is still largely being kept shrouded in mystery, a bigger worry for many fans is just how to connect Weaver’s character and the nefarious Hand organization to each of the four heroes taking center-stage in the show.
Of course, Daredevil and Iron Fist have previously had dealings with The Hand, so that’s all well and good, but the eight-part miniseries faces a huge challenge in making this threat feel genuinely tied to both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage.
Basically, what will Weaver's Alexandra and The Hand really do to grab the attention of Jessica and Power Man? It’s a fine line that The Defenders will have to navigate to make Jones and Cage’s presence feel justified, and if not handled correctly, then it could see the pair’s involvement not seem particularly genuine and a little too forced.
7 Why It Could Suck: How Do You Move Forward?
One of the potentially biggest problems that could arise once Marvel’s The Defenders is in the books is how they could possibly carry on the heroes’ solo shows once they’ve already shown them coming together to become a super-force.
So, if, for instance, The Kingpin rears his head in Daredevil’s third season and is looking to carry out some evil scheme that would harm New York City or put hundreds or thousands of lives in danger, now that The Defenders as a team have been established, how do you not have Matt Murdock calling in help from his buddies?
Even if you somehow have it written so that, say, Iron Fist is out of the country and in K’un-Lun, the Guardian Devil would still have two other allies he could call on.
Handling this going forward could well prove a tricky topic for Marvel, and The Defenders has now set a precedent of a superhero team-up existing.
6 Why It Will Be Successful: The Punisher’s Reemergence
One of the very best elements of Marvel’s Netflix-exclusive shows so far has been Jon Bernthal’s intense portrayal of Frank Castle, aka The Punisher. Debuting in the second season of Marvel’s Daredevil, Castle was shown to be a truly erratic, explosive, and unpredictable presence who's an unrelenting force of nature in making sure he sees his “mission” through to its conclusion.
Of course, Frank and his mission – as is so ever the case in the comics – soon put him into the sights of ol’ Hornhead, Daredevil, and so viewers were treated to these two comic book icons butting heads and throwing hands.
So, while the promotional material for Marvel’s The Defenders is all about Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron First, to many, seeing Frank Castle once again step out of the shadows is shaping up to be one of the true highlights of this miniseries.
5 Why It Will Be Successful: The Resurrection Of Elektra
While she may be best described as ‘a bit of a tinker’ – or, y’know, an insane master assassin – Elektra Natchios was a hugely important part of the second year of Marvel’s Daredevil. Alongside Jon Bernthal’s Frank Castle, Elodie Yung’s Elektra made a huge splash and added a whole new dimension to the adventures of Hell’s Kitchen’s Guardian Devil.
Obviously, by the time that second season had come to a close, Elektra had died. Yep, totally, totally died. As in dead dead. Honest.
So, it’ll come as a huge surprise to hear that Elektra is to be resurrected for Marvel’s The Defenders. Well, unless you’re an avid comic book fan, for then you’ll know that Elektra has had her fair share of returns from the grave, often courtesy of the nefarious Hand organization.
4 Why It Will Be Successful: More Grouchy Stick
While near-enough any semi-regular supporting character from the four Marvel/Netflix shows so far will be turning up in Marvel’s The Defenders in some capacity, the one that's arguably the most hotly-anticipated is the chance to see Scott Glenn returning as Stick.
Having first appeared in the first season of Marvel’s Daredevil, this master martial artist and his ever-grouchy ways became a huge favorite of many a viewer. Often doing his best to belittle Matt Murdock, Glenn devoured scenery at an impressive rate whenever Stick would appear onscreen.
Of course, this is a character who also has ties to Elektra and The Hand, so expect to see Stick and his miserable demeanor to have an important role to play in this miniseries. Then again, with there likely to be some collateral damage in The Defenders, that may not bode all that well for poor Stick.
3 Why It Will Be Successful: The Team Dynamic
From anyone looking at the promo work for Marvel’s The Defenders, it appears as if Charlie Cox’s Daredevil is the de facto ‘leader’ of the team. But regardless of which one of the four nabs the alpha role of the group, it should be brilliant to see how each of these four characters bounce off of each other.
In Matt Murdock, you have a determined, aggressive figure who just wants for the never-ending fight to finally draw to a close. With Jessica, she’s truly hateful of what she has to do, with her all-powerful abilities making her arguably the most impressive of the team. Then there’s Luke Cage, the moral compass of the group, and Danny Rand, an excited super-powered hero whom this is all still relatively new to.
How these four play off of each other, how the quips fly, and how they'll eventually come together to take down the looming threat of the miniseries will be a huge reason why The Defenders should hopefully be a major success story.
2 Why It Will Be Successful: The Inevitable In-Fighting
Whether it’s in comic books, movies, or TV shows, fans love to see the classic Good Guy vs. Good Guy confrontation. Most recently, of course, there was the huge superhero fight club known as Captain America: Civil War, but this concept is one that has existed for decades. After all, how many of us so often enjoyed seeing Batman punch Superman in the face years and years before Batman v Superman ever got to the big screen.
And so, one of the true highlights of Marvel’s The Defenders will be seeing the inevitable in-fighting and fists flying off of the show’s titular team. Sure, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will eventually come together to work as a cohesive team to take down the bad guys, but before that, there’s sure to be a feeling-out process for the heroes, a feeling-out process that will see some hands thrown and some memorable battles between this rag-tag bunch of heroes.
1 Why It Will Be Successful: The Ante Will Be Upped
So far, Marvel’s Netflix-exclusive shows have given us plenty to cheer about. From brutal, bloody fight scenes, to nods, winks, and references to the comic books, to a whole plethora of fascinating villains; from The Kingpin, to Kilgrave, to Cottonmouth, to the Meachum clan, and plenty of other no-good sorts in-between.
To date, these shows have hit so many brilliant beats, and now, we’re all anxiously awaiting what delights await us in The Defenders. After all, with the ante getting set to be well and truly upped for this miniseries, it looks as if the famed set-pieces, delicate character traits, and always-engaging narratives are to be taken to an entirely different level. And that cannot be anything but a huge positive for what could well be one of the most must-see shows of 2017.
Sources: Marvel, Netflix, Wikipedia