Series / The Defenders

"You four - the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, the smartass detective, the righteous ex-con, and the kid with the glowing fist - the war for New York is here... So get your shit together."

The Defenders is the fifth slated Netflix television series from Marvel Comics and will take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is a crossover between Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. The series' showrunners are Douglas Petrie, Marco Ramirez, and Drew Goddard, all of whom were executive producers on Daredevil's second season. It's set to premiere August 18, 2017 and there will be 8 episodes.

The series is very loosely based on the comicbook The Defenders and features previously established heroes from other Netflix series, much like Marvel's The Avengers film series.

Its cast includes:
  • Mike Colter as Luke Cage, a former convict at Seagate Prison, now a bartender with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin who fights crime on the streets of Harlem.
  • Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen with heightened senses who moonlights as the vigilante "Daredevil".
  • Finn Jones as Danny Rand, a billionaire Buddhist monk, co-CEO of Rand Enterprises and martial arts expert, with the ability to call upon the mystical power of the Iron Fist.
  • Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, a private investigator from Hell's Kitchen with super strength, who retired from superheroing after a traumatic run-in with Kilgrave
  • Eka Darville as Malcolm Ducasse, Jessica's neighbor and assistant at Alias Investigations.
  • Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Luke's girlfriend, a nurse from Hell's Kitchen who gives medical aid to vigilantes.
  • Scott Glenn as Stick, Matt's mentor and leader of The Chaste, who wages a war against The Hand.
  • Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, a lawyer at Hogarth Chao & Benowitz, Matt's best friend and former law partner.
  • Jessica Henwick as Colleen Wing, Danny's lover, crimefighting partner, and the owner of a Chinatown dojo.
  • Simone Missick as Misty Knight, a detective at the New York City Police Department's 29th Precinct.
  • Carrie-Anne Moss as Jeri Hogarth, Danny's lawyer, Foggy's boss and Jessica's regular employer.
  • Rachael Taylor as Trish Walker, the host of the popular radio show Trish Talk, Jessica's adoptive sister and best friend.
  • Sigourney Weaver as Alexandra, the Big Bad.
  • Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Matt's girlfriend and former office assistant, currently a reporter at the New York Bulletin.
  • Élodie Yung as Elektra Natchios, a super-wealthy ninja assassin, and Matt's former college girlfriend.
  • Wai Ching Ho as Madame Gao, the enigmatic leader of a rogue faction of the Hand.

Previews: Teaser 1, Teaser 2, Trailer 1

The Defenders contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out: Essentially, the comicbook Defenders team. The "classic" Defenders lineup is Sub-Mariner, Doctor Strange, Silver Surfer and the Incredible Hulk (ie, a team of bad team players). Later Defenders titles were Heroes Unlimited series with a Running Gag of pretty much every superhero joining, and the comic version of the Defenders has also included Beast, Ice Man, and Angel from X-Men and well-liked C-Listers like Nighthawk and Gargoyle. Marvel does not own the TV or movie rights to some of those characters, and others are movie-exclusive so don't expect them to show up any time soon either. (Spider-Man was also a member for a few missions, but Marvel's deal with Sony is such that it is unlikely he will show up, even though he is now a part of the MCU.) This Defenders team is essentially "Heroes for Hire + Daredevil," or Brian Michael Bendis's New Avengers, depending on your preferences.
  • Afro Asskicker: Misty Knight continues to fulfill this role.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Midland Circle has an entirely white aesthetic. The walls, windows and even furniture are completely white, which shows the people who own it are not very nice.
  • Big Bad: Sigourney Weaver plays the main villain, Alexandra. After a lot of foreshadowing from Season 2 of Daredevil and Season 1 of Iron Fist, the first trailer confirms that The Hand will be the main threat of the series.
  • Call Back:
    • We get the exact same slow motion close-up shot of Luke being punched in the face that one of Cottonmouth's men tried to do. Unfortunately for Luke, this time it's Danny using the Iron Fist.
    • Matt's first meeting with Jessica is practically identical to his first meeting with Karen Page, in terms of setting (an interrogation room) and the woman asking him "Who the hell are you?" prompting Matt to introduce himself and the woman to give a bewildered look. It also is a call back to Misty's attempted interrogation of Candace Miller - being interrupted by a lawyer not sent by the person being interrogated who's first words upon entering are to tell the interrogated individual to stop talking. (Incidentally, the lawyer in that case, Ben Donovan, has interacted with Matt, during Matt's visit to see Wilson Fisk in "The Man in the Box")
    • The Defenders get their own version of the shawarma scene, just with Chinese food instead. Also, this appears at the beginning of their team-up as opposed to the end.
  • Canon Foreigner: Alexandra is stated to be an original character, quite unusual for the Big Bad of a comic book adaptation. Time will tell if she's actually a Canon Character All Along.
  • Cheap Costume: In one episode, Matt remakes a makeshift version of his prototype costume by tying Jessica's scarf around his head. No one is particularly impressed.
    Jessica: You look like an idiot.
    Matt: It's your scarf.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Each of the Defenders has a color associated with them: red for Matt, purple for Jessica, yellow for Luke, and green for Danny.
    • On the villain side, Alexandra is constantly wearing white and her building is also all in white. Elektra, meanwhile, wears a red costume and even the hilt of her sword is red.
  • Composite Character: More Composite Concept; as noted, the show is essentially a mix between Heroes for Hire (Luke, Danny, and Misty being present) and The Knights (loose-knit team of street heroes featuring Daredevil), with some elements of Brian Michael Bendis' New Avengers (all four main characters have been featured on the team), but with the name from The Defenders.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character: The Defenders are presented - first in their own individual shows and in this show - as gritty and urban crimefighters as opposed to the planet-level Avengers and the space-level Guardians.
  • Cut-and-Paste Note: Featured in the teaser; papers and files relevant to the Defenders are torn, showing pieces of each series' logos. The letters shown are compiled together to form the word "defend", showing off the trope due to each show's unique font.
  • Darker and Edgier: All of the Netflix shows are designed to show darker, violent corners of the MCU, effectively making The Defenders a grittier street-level counterpoint to the grand-scaling Avengers.
  • Dysfunction Junction: All four team members have a Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Matt was blinded when he was nine years old. His father was killed shortly thereafter for refusing to take a dive.
    • Jessica lost her family, had to live with Trish's abusive mom, and spent almost a year being controlled by Kilgrave.
    • Luke is an ex-Marine, who later became a sheriff's deputy, then got framed by his own half-brother for a crime he didn't commit.
    • Danny is a billionaire heir whose parents were murdered by his dad's business partner, because Harold Meachum didn't want his dirty dealings with the Hand coming to light.
    • As Stick puts it:
      Stick: You think the four of you can save New York? You can't even save yourselves.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Matt has to come to blows with Elektra, resurrected by the Hand at the end of Daredevil's second season.
  • Geodesic Cast: The Defenders form a team that contrasts with the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Danny initially tries martial arts moves against Luke, only to be knocked down by a simple punch. Justified in that Luke has superhuman strength and durability, allowing him to take Danny's strikes and do a lot of damage with simple punches.
  • The Heart: Danny Rand is the one who tries to convince the team to come together and stay together. In the words of Finn Jones, "Danny Rand, he's the one that kind of drives the group to get shit done."
  • The Heavy: Although The Hand is present, Alexandra is the most visible threat.
  • Hallway Fight: The team meets up while fighting off Elektra and other Hand ninjas in a corridor of Midland Circle
  • Heartbroken Badass: Matt is still mourning over Elektra's death. According to Charlie Cox, "He took the death of Elektra very badly —I think he feels responsible for that."
  • Hot Scoop: Karen Page and Trish Walker fill this role, with Karen reporting for the Bulletin while Trish hosts Trish Talk.
  • In-Name-Only: Tropes Are Tools, though. An ensemble consisting of Luke, Jessica, Danny, Misty (and probably eventually Colleen), Claire Temple and Daredevil is essentially the cast of the Power Man & Iron Fist/Heroes for Hire series. The Defenders, however, was probably chosen because it sounds, to the layman, more similar to The Avengers.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Luke is roughly ten years older than Danny, but they still form a friendship.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Aside from the four main heroes, and Claire Temple, the miniseries also features nearly every major supporting cast member from the previous shows: Colleen Wing, Misty Knight, Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Stick, Elektra Natchios, Jeri Hogarth, Trish Walker, Malcolm Ducasse, and Madame Gao. Then there's Weaver's character as a new addition to the Netflix Marvel franchise.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: In classic Marvel tradition, Danny and Luke come to blows before they become teammates.
  • Mythology Gag: Matt barging in on Misty's interrogation of Jessica and saying "Jessica Jones. Stop talking." is a reference to when Matt came to represent Jessica in Alias. The only difference is that in Alias, Matt had been sent by Luke. Here, he seems to come of his own accord.
  • No Sell: During the first confrontation between Danny and Luke, Luke shrugs off Danny's attempts to use an openhanded palm strike. In fact, nothing but an all out attack by Danny with the Iron Fist has any effect whatsoever on Luke.
  • Official Couple: All three of the male Defenders have an official love interest going into the show:
    • Matt Murdock and Karen Page
    • Danny Rand and Colleen Wing
    • Luke Cage and Claire Temple
  • Old Master: Stick, Matt's elderly mentor, returns.
  • Once a Season: As with nearly every season of every Marvel Netflix series, there's a Hallway Fight set piece in one episode where our heroes kick the crap out of a boatload of goons.
  • One Degree of Separation: New York City is one of the largest and most anonymous cities in the world. Despite this, all the Defenders seem to have the same circle of acquaintances, although except for Luke and Jessica they themselves have never met each other during their individual shows.
    • Claire Temple has met all four Defenders over the course of their shows, and saved several of their lives.
    • Colleen Wing is Claire's trainer, and Danny's lover/crimefighting partner.
    • Jeri Hogarth is a professional acquaintance of Jessica's, she used to work for Danny's father and becomes Danny's lawyer, and she hired Foggy Nelson after Nelson & Murdock closed.
    • Jessica killed Luke's wife Reva. She later randomly encounters him without knowing who Reva was (in a bar no less).
      • Kilgrave made Jessica kill Reva because Reva had knowledge of Kilgrave's past and powers. Given that Reva also worked on the Seagate experiments that gave Luke his powers, Luke and Kilgrave (and other people in the same program) might also be linked.
    • Matt and Danny have both battled the Hand and were trained by different ancient orders (the Chaste; K'un-L'un) specifically to fight the Hand.
    • Karen Page is Matt's girlfriend and former office assistant, Matt and Danny's media contact at the New York Bulletin, and she and Matt are friends with Foggy, whose law firm regularly uses Jessica.
    • Foggy Nelson is Matt's best friend and former law partner, and his current firm regularly uses Jessica and is on retainer with Rand Enterprises.
    • Danny's childhood friend Joy Meachum once hired Jessica to dig up blackmail material on the board. Possibly justified as Jessica is supposed to actually be very good at her job...when she is sober.
    • It was a Rand Enterprises chemical truck that was responsible for Matt getting blinded and gaining his abilities.
    • Both Matt and Luke have beaten up Turk Barrett.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: While Matt, Luke, and Danny were Defenders in the comics (everybody is), they were not as well-established in the team as other members. This series' roster has much more in common with Heroes for Hire and The Knights, which featured these heroes more prominently. The Knights were a loose-knit team of street level heroes, which seems to fit the concept of this series, but the Defenders is a more famous franchise. Meanwhile, the heroes are likely not going to be cutting a paycheck, so Heroes for Hire would not be suitable.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: All four Defenders have a long list of character flaws and tend to be failure heroes.
    • Matt brought down Wilson Fisk, but Fisk only began regaining power in the criminal hierarchy from behind bars. And while he defeated Nobu's faction of the Hand, it came at the cost of Elektra's life and the loss of his own firm due to the strain of his double life.
    • Jessica defeated Kilgrave, but not until a bunch of people had been killed whose deaths had been preventable.
    • Luke defeated his half-brother Diamondback, the one responsible for framing him up, but then got thrown back in jail due to Mariah Dillard ousting his former identity
    • Danny managed to drive the Hand out of Rand Enterprises and avenge his parents' death and reconciled with Ward Meachum, but estranged Davos and Joy Meachum from him in the process.
    • Stick even lampshades this telling the group that, not only will they be unable to save New York, they can't even save themselves. It says something when the project's working title is Group Therapy.
    • The first trailer even refers to them as "the Devil of Hell's Kitchen, the smartass detective, the righteous ex-con, and the kid with a glowing fist."
  • Secret Identity: Notable because of the heroes featured in this series, Matt is the only one who has one, as he wears an identity-concealing devil costume and adopts the moniker "Daredevil", primarily so that he can also maintain his day job as a lawyer. The others don't hide their faces and just use their real names during their adventures.
  • Superhero Speciation: Played with.
  • Reluctant Hero: Jessica Jones wants no part of this. As Marco Ramirez puts it, she is "gloriously the most reluctant hero in the world".
  • Repurposed Pop Song: A remix of Nirvana's "Come as You Are" is used on the trailers.
  • Tagalong Kid: Played for Laughs. The rest of the cast treats Danny as an overly enthusiastic and often ridiculous child. Stick even calls him "the kid with the glowing fist" while going through the members of the Defenders.
  • Team Dad: Luke Cage is the conciliator. According to Mike Colter, “I’m the guy, the wisdom. If you want to make sure something works, run it up the flagpole.”
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Much like the comics, the premise of the team is that of a group of heroes who don't entirely get along, being forced to come together to fight evil.
  • Who Are You?: Jessica asks this to Matt when she first meet him to which he responds "My name is Matthew Murdock. I'm your attorney." Later Luke and Danny ask each others the same question.
  • Working the Same Case: The team meets while each investigating criminal activities by the Hand, with Matt stumbling upon Jessica, Danny and Luke getting into a fight, and then all four meeting up when investigating one of Alexandra's bases.
  • World of Snark: Add all the snarkers from the individual series, from Jessica to Stick, and it's clear the show is overflowing with zings. For instance, the page quote up there, and this instance of Snark-to-Snark Combat:
    Danny: We make quite a team.
    Jessica: ...No.
    Danny: What are you talking about? Bulletproof. Blind Ninja. Whatever it is you are.
    Jessica: Classy.