- Jossed. She introduces Luke to Danny, but that's it. Matt and Jess are introduced thanks to Foggy, and the four come together on their own.
- A key element of the first season of Jessica Jones (2015) is how Kilgrave used Jessica to retrieve a thumb drive containing records of the experiments that created Kilgrave. Jessica gives Luke Cage (2016) the thumb drive near the end of her first season, and near the end of Luke's first season, he finally gets to read it; it reveals that Reeva coordinated IGH's experiments at Seagate Prison, which gave Luke Cage his powers.
- Jessica got her powers after her family car collided with a truck containing unknown chemicals. It being an IGH truck is unconfirmed fanon, but they did supply the money and all operation procedures for Jessica's recovery and paid for her meds.
- IGH was behind Will Simpson's combat enhancers.
- The truck full of chemicals responsible for Daredevil (2015)'s blindness and subsequent powers showing the Rand Enterprises logo on the cab door - or at least according to a picture from production. Perhaps it was even the exact same accident as the one that gave Jessica her powers. It would fit the timeline, since Jessica was a teenager when her accident happened, and assuming that Jessica is about the same age as Krysten Ritter.
- However, IGH is completely absent from Iron Fist (2017), save for the aforementioned connection to Danny Rand's corporation.
- Jossed. The main plot is related to the Hand from Daredevil and Iron Fist.
An interesting theory seen on Facebook goes like this: the Hand plans on resurrecting an ancient entity known as The Beast by sacrificing a host body known as the Black Sky, who are revealed to be descendants of The Beast.
IGH, the guys who are responsible for the experiments done on Will Simpson, and possibly the experiments that happened at Seagate, were founded to conduct secret experiments to enhance the body, mind, and soul to basically prepare the Black Sky. Over time, members of IGH like Dr. Kozlov and Dr. Burstein began to branch out as mad scientists, who wanted to use the experiments to enhance the human body and mind. This resulted in Will Simpson and Luke Cage becoming the people they are today.
Bakuto's faction of the Hand was designed to gather intel in plain sight. Whereas Madame Gao's faction was designed to disseminate a drug disguised as heroin that will cause those who use it to be subservient to The Beast, basically amassing an army of followers for The Beast to control. And Nobu's faction was designed to prepare the Black Sky for The Beast, which is why they tried to go after Elektra by any means necessary. This will result in a Beast-possessed Elektra as the main antagonist.
The result is a plotline akin to the Shadowland storyline.
Young Avengers, in particular, would work out quite well as a means to blend the mature writing with more fantastical elements of the outer MCU (including the Kree and Skrull, alien and cosmic elements, introduce time travel as a thing, etc), with the Defenders replacing the New Avengers in the original arc (with Daredevil taking Captain America's place as the hero unwilling to let them run around fighting crime without training, unless Chris Evans is willing to appear in a guest spot), IGH being the ones running the prison that Speed was held in, maybe involve them in the Twins' origin, and their pills replacing MGH as the drug Patriot uses his powers. Not to mention, Jessica was already involved in the original arc as it was.Basically, you can tie things together rather well with elements already introduced in the first two shows.
- The only problem with the Young Avengers would be the timeline. Not including Billy and/or Tommy would be a complete fan disservice, but Wanda looks much too young to have kids as teens. Not to mention Cassie Lang is still only like six in the MCU.
- Disney seems to be launching their own streaming service, and at the moment, only Jessica Jones and The Punisher have seasons left, as every other Netflix Marvel show has been cancelled. But of the ones you mentioned, Moon Knight was the only one who had a chance, given that the movies and TV shows not named Agents of SHIELD don't cross over much.
- Confirmed supporting cast members from each of the shows do show up:
- Daredevil supplies Foggy, Karen, Stick, and Elektra
- Jessica Jones supplies Trish, Malcolm, and Jeri Hogarth
- Luke Cage supplies Misty Knight
- Iron Fist supplies Colleen Wing
- Confirmed. All of those characters (and more) appear.
- This might be saved for season 3 of Daredevil or for The Punisher.
- Jossed. Neither IGH nor Nuke appears at all.
- This seems to now be even more of a possibility as Stick can be heard in the teaser, addressing the four Defenders.
- All but confirmed with Season 1 of Iron Fist. Harold Meachum says that the Hand is dumping money from both Rand Enterprises and the Roxxon Corporation into Midland Circle Financials, Alexandra's company. It also carries over a lot of the Hand's plot points from Season 2 of Daredevil, such as Bakuto planning to drain Colleen's blood as her penalty for betraying the Hand.
- Confirmed on both points.
- Jossed. Sometimes, an exit sign is merely an exit sign.
- Partially Jossed. There is a gate, but it doesn't lead to another dimension.
- Jossed. Neither appears, or is even mentioned.
- Jossed... although he will appear in S2 of Jessica Jones in some capacity.
- Nobu Yoshioka and the Hand: Despite the Yellow Peril with this organization, they are shown to be a case of Equal-Opportunity Evil to some extent. They would likely want new allies in New York for whatever strange plan they're up to.
- Nobu was killed off for good in Daredevil, but the rest of the Hand is still out there.
- Maybe they'll have a new frontman who is related to Nobu in some way.
- Maybe the giant hole they dug is part of the plan somehow. Seriously, it needs to be addressed that they made a giant hole!
- Nobu was killed off for good in Daredevil, but the rest of the Hand is still out there.
- Will Simpson, Dr. Kozlov, and IGH: Their motivations are involved with making super soldiers, which the other villains can provide money and new means for.
- Burstein and them could team up to help create the MCU version of the Serpent Society, or at least some more superpowered beings who can be Elite Mooks.
- Diamondback: He becomes a Chekhov's Gunman and becomes more relevant in this show than in Luke Cage. His presence allows for other members of the Serpent Society to appear and give more named, unique characters to bolster the ranks and give more character than mooks. They could be willing to be muscle for the group by being offered a slice of the pie. Whatever it is.
- This lines up with the above idea of Burstein being hired by IGH. He and Kozlov could make Serpent Society members that could serve as the now-empowered Cottonmouth's lieutenants.
- (At least one of) The Meachums: Who better to provide money than a/some Corrupt Corporate Executive style foes? Since they'll want to kill Danny, they have a motivation to work with the other stranger characters. Especially if they can make a profit in the end.
- Most likely Joy Meachum, given that Harold is dead and Ward has done a HeelFace Turn.
- Wilson Fisk: When we last saw him in season 2 of Daredevil, he was clearly beginning to plot his rise back to power as a crime boss, having started to suspect Matt of being Daredevil. He also arranged for Dutton's death and Frank Castle's escape, knowing that Castle would take care of Fisk's rivals. Luke Cage saw the Harlem crime trade get greatly disrupted, and Fisk's own crooked attorney has ties to Cottonmouth and Mariah, giving him an inside line there. With those two things, plus whatever damage Danny does to the Triads in Iron Fist, it's easy to see Fisk using whatever goes on in The Defenders to further his gains.
- Sadly, Jossed. Vincent D'onofrio tweeted that there is "no chance" of him appearing in Defenders.
Alternately: Matt Murdock ends up being Luke's attorney, successfully getting him out of prison. From there, Luke finds that the Hand were behind the experiments at Seagate, including the ones that gave him his abilities. He has no idea where to start regarding hunting them down, so he turns to the only person he knows who could even have a chance at finding them, which means going back to Jessica and forgiving her for Reva's death. Likewise, Danny and Colleen are still tracking down the Hand after finding the massacre at the K'un L'un gate. Since Claire made it VERY clear she knew a hero who also had run ins with the Hand, they end up working with Matt and Karen Page, who are already looking into the Hand trying to seek justice for their kidnapping Karen and killing Elektra. As a result, Danny and Matt end up tracking Madame Gao, while Jessica and Luke try to locate the Hand scientists responsible for Luke's experiment.
Another alternative, is that as Hogarth Chao & Benowitz's resident lawyer for "humans with complexities," Foggy ends up being the one who defends Luke, and he decides to bring Matt on as an expert, figuring Matt understands Luke in a way that no other lawyer could, and since Matt is stepping back from Daredevil, he's going to dedicate himself wholeheartedly to Luke's defense to make up for bungling his part in Frank Castle's trial. But Matt and Foggy realize the deck is stacked against Luke unless they get solid evidence of Luke's innocence, and that's not really something Matt can do as Daredevil, both because he's cutting back on his nightly outings, and also because Harlem isn't his home turf. This leads Foggy to send Jessica, who is already acquainted with Luke. Jessica ends up learning about the files, and she correctly suspects that Bobby Fish has them. However, she is not the only one to suspect so; it turns out someone in the Hand knows about the files as well, so by the time she gets to Bobby, she finds him dead in his apartment, killed off by Elektra. At the same time, perhaps Karen, assigned by Ellison to cover Luke's trial, ends up going to Harlem to interview Bobby; maybe even she witnesses the crime. While Karen gets away, Jessica ends up getting arrested.
This could certainly explain why Jessica is being interrogated by Misty, given that Misty probably feels indebted to Luke after he saved her from Diamondback. It might even explain the dialogue (Jessica: "I was trying to help him." Misty: "But you didn't."). Matt learns of the news from Karen, there's a healthy helping of "Are you kidding me?", and then he shows up to represent Jessica as well.
- Jossed, because...
- Confirmed, though he only appears once and only encounters Luke.
- a female avatar of Mephisto.
- The series in the Defenders line focus more on humans, street crimes, and corruption. A demon might be a bit out there.
- a Gender Flipped version of Nightmare, who is manipulating the other villains through their dreams. It will be revealed that she has driven some of the previous bad guys to have done what they have in the past, all as part of a plot to find a new way to pull humans into the Dream Dimension.
- The series in the Defenders line focus more on humans, street crimes, and corruption. A demon might be a bit out there.
- Mephista, the daughter of Mephisto whom Doctor Strange fought.
- The leader of IGH.
- The CEO of a company called Alchemax.
- Ruby Tuesday, an old Defenders villain who was a scientist that replaced her head with a shapeshifting computer. One would imagine the character could be updated a bit to fit the tone of the show.
- Piggybacking off of this, Ruby Tuesday will be the head scientist or a part of IGH as suggested above, and will somehow be working with the Hand, thus justifying Stick's presence.
- Turns out her name is Ruby Thursday (Thursday is even her real first name).
- Ruby is a character who is defined by her red orb head. Without it, there would be little to connect to the original outside of her being called Ruby Thursday.
- She was the Smurfette of a group of very weird and obscure villains, so why her?
- The successor of Madame B, who is trying to create a newer, stronger Black Widow Program.
- An ally of Harold Meachum at Rand Industries.
- an audio recorded tour guide for a MarineLife Institute.
- A gender-flipped version of Alexander Holt, a Daredevil antagonist that was a predecessor to Wilson Fisk.
- Alexandra Draguno, an Iron Man villain that debuted in the 2013 "Believe" storyline. She would be hired by a surviving villain from any of the other four shows and eventually cross paths with the Defenders.
- Danny's mother living under an assumed name. There's plenty of hints:
- We never saw Heather's body after she got sucked out of the plane. And rule of thumb in fiction is that no body means no death. Danny even says that he imagined his mother had somehow survived.
- At no time did the Hand ever seriously try to kill Danny. This suggests that someone in the Hand wanted Danny alive. Remember how in Episode 8, Madame Gao ordered to have "the women" killed, but Danny, apparently, was not to be harmed. Why?
- Madame Gao and Bakuto both mentioned a "master" who was interested in Danny.
- Ward obviously didn't know that Madame Gao was using Rand Enterprises as a front to smuggle drugs. But we know someone authorized Madame Gao to have a security pass and access to a floor in the Rand building. Could be something Heather set up.
- Harold was brought back to life and then told that he couldn't leave his penthouse, or else Joy Meachum would be killed. That sounds very personal. Like, perhaps Heather realized Harold's complicity in the plane crash.
- Madame Gao mentioned that she met Danny's mother first and she introduced her to his father. Perhaps there is more to it than just chance meetings.
- In the comics, Danny's mother ends up coming back as a werewolf-like villain (long story), so it's not a stretch for the character.
- Matt Murdock's mother living under an assumed name. Matt never mentions her at all, and the closest the show has come to acknowledging her is first when Jack leaves a message for her prior to the match with Creel, and this exchange between Stick and an elderly nun when he first meets Matt:Elderly Nun: He's getting worse. When we first took him in, Matthew's problems seemed less severe. Now he's in so much pain. Doctors, clergy, no one has any idea what's wrong with him. We heard about your work with special children and thought maybe you could help.Stick: Not for free.Elderly Nun: His father left a sizeable inheritance.Stick: What about the mother? Is she dead?Elderly Nun: No, she's - Well, that's another story.
- A gender-flipped version of Ken Wind, a Hand-controlled presidential candidate from Elektra: Assassin. Wind was a charismatic, popular politician who was brainwashed by the Hand, as part of their plan to spread the influence of the Beast into the core of the U.S. government. Weavers assertion in one interview that her character is a really nice woman seems to suggest that shes playing someone who is either an unwitting pawn of the Hand, or is putting up a facade. It would also be very timely The Defenders is going to be New York City-focused, and will be coming out right in time for the real-life mayoral elections. If Weaver's character is Wind, she's operating on a smaller scale, while working with the same general goal in mind. This would be optimal, as it makes her another villain in the same general mold as Wilson Fisk, Mariah Dillard, and Harold Meachum not superpowered or combat-based, but dangerous through the use of social capital, personal power, and manipulation (plus the benefits of the Hand). Our heroes wont be able to just knock down the door and kick her butt. Plus, as Reyes and Mariah have shown, the political climate in New York City is currently very anti-superhero. The perfect opportunity for the Hand to use an anti-vigilante politician to discredit the Defenders and make a power grab.
- All Jossed. She really is an original character made for the series.
- Jossed. He does not appear, despite some trailers hinting that he will.
- Jeri will explain the Sokovia Accords to Jessica and let her know that she cannot represent her unless she signs them. Jessica refuses, Foggy overhears the conversation, and tells her to go see his friend Matt as he would be more willing to go against the rules. This sets the two up to meet one another.
- Luke signing the Accords is what allows him to get out of prison in exchange for helping to save New York.
- Thing is, they probably won't operate publicly. Since they're street level heroes, they'll mostly be fighting in the shadows at night and not have to worry about the Accords since they're not working for the UN.
- Jossed. The Accords are never even mentioned.
- Partially Jossed. Jessica does walk away when it gets too nuts, but she comes back in the same episode, and entirely of her own accord.
- Matt Murdock and Tony Stark are both guys in red suits, each coping with a disability (blindness; a hole in the chest) but also becoming a superhero by defeating a bald villain (Wilson Fisk; Obadiah Stane).
- Jessica Jones and Bruce Banner want to live away from everyone else and forget traumas of their past (Kilgrave; Banner's experimentation). Others seek to use them for their strength and abilities. Each finds solace in a love interest (Luke Cage; Betty Ross) but get driven apart.
- Season 2 of Daredevil (2015), like Iron Man 2, continues with upgrading the characters and introduce new allies (Elektra and Frank Castle; Natasha Romanoff and War Machine). Matt and Tony also have self-doubts over their roles as superheroes.
- Luke Cage and Thor both grew up in different environments than the ones they find themselves in. Both have serious issues with their brothers (Diamondback; Loki). Their powers are similar in being extremely durable bruisers.
- Danny Rand, like Steve Rogers, was presumed dead after a plane crash into the snow, and wound up with fighting skills. Both have questions about their pasts and struggle to fit in with the newer world when they are introduced to it.
If this trend continues, Claire probably will parallel Nick Fury and pulls the team together or be like Phil Coulson and die, and her death will serve the same purpose as Coulson's death did in the Avengers: it will cause the four of them to come together as a team and take down the bad guys.
- That Claire will die is jossed, since she's been seen on set filming for Luke Cage (2016) season 2.
- Alternatively, the writers will notice the flaws in Danny's personality that critics have pointed out, and try to make him more likeable and interesting. Then they'll kill him.
- Maybe his own show simply won't get a second season and he'll become a supporting character in Luke Cage (2016) instead. After all, Luke and Danny were partnered up in the comics, and Misty Knight is Danny's love interest in the comics.
- Jossed. The Defenders was already written and the bulk of the show was finished shooting by the time the Iron Fist show premiered. There was no time for rewrites/reshoots.
Whether or not Matt's identity reveal prompts Karen to get back together with him is ambiguous. Even if they don't, Matt gives Karen an inside source who can give her information on the group's actions to publish in the Bulletin, and with Karen's own reputation for amateur sleuthing (finding Wilson Fisk's mom, breaking into Frank Castle's house), what's to say she'll assist them in a behind-the-scenes role. And since the Bulletin was the first paper to call Matt "The Devil of Hell's Kitchen" and later "Daredevil", it'd be fitting for the paper to do it a third time.
It's possible that both Karen and Trish might come up with the name together. I could see them bonding over their shared nosiness (and the consequences of said nosiness: Trish's near-death experiences at Kilgrave's hands, and Karen killing James Wesley).
When Madame Gao is in Danny's office in "Felling with Tree Roots", she mentions three of the four Defenders: "The Devil of Hell's Kitchen. The man with unbreakable skin. And now, an immortal weapon has left K'un L'un." She doesn't mention Jessica Jones in any way. Either Madame Gao simply forgot to name her, or Jessica currently flies far under the Hands radar.
On a sidenote, if Jessica counts Joy Meachum as a client, she might have some (and want to find more) dirt on Danny by the time they meet.
It's possible that Jessica will get lured in because she's drawn into Matt's circle (given that Matt shows up to interrupt Misty interrogating Jessica). It's possible that Foggy has passed some of Hogarth's cases off to Matt so that he can at least make some regular income and that's how Matt and Jessica come to know each other.
- Alternately, Foggy may give Matt cases, it's but more like he sees people he can't help because he works for a large corporate firm now, so he directs them to Matt. He can't blatantly be giving Matt cases because that'd probably break a non-compete clause.
- Confirmed. Jessica is drawn into the fight by investigating a case.
According to the spreadsheet on Harold Meachum's computer in "Felling with Tree Roots," the Hand has been moving a lot of money from Rand Enterprises into accounts at Midland Circle Financials. Midland Circle should sound familiar to those who paid attention to the second season of Daredevil (2015): its the company allegedly behind the giant hole that Matt and Elektra dropped that flashlight down. It's the operation that might pull all four solo stories into one. Word of God is that the Midland Circle offices will be the site of the Defenders first accidental meeting. They're all investigating the same mystery, eventually stumbling upon one another in the middle of a huge fight in a hallway.
- Danny Rand: Danny and the Meachums discovered in Iron Fist that Rand has unknowingly funneled money into Madame Gaos heroin trafficking, and much of that money as indicated on that spreadsheet on Harold's computer has gone to Midland Circle. That means Danny has the most clear-cut reason: he chooses to investigate the company by following the paper trail listed on these documents.
- Jessica Jones: Jessica was hired by Joy Meachum in the past to take compromising photos of members of the Rand board of directors. Joy tells Ward that Jessica was worth every penny, when sober. When we last saw Joy, she was talking with Davos, seemingly plotting to get rid of Danny. It's possible that she hires Jessica to investigate Danny. Alternately, Danny reaches out to Jeri Hogarth and she hooks him up with Jessica.
- Matt Murdock's and Luke Cage's connections aren't as clear-cut. Matt's conflicts with the Hand were with Nobu, not Gao, although he's familiar with Gao from when he was going after Wilson Fisk. And Luke doesn't have anything connecting him to The Hand, unless somehow they're tied to the experiments that happened at Seagate. The best guess I have with Matt involves Karen.
I have the opinion that Karen gets back together with Matt because of him disclosing his secret. I say that because Karen's whole arc with Frank Castle in season 2 seemed to be staged to set her up as supportive and compassionate towards vigilantes, to show how supportive and understanding Karen might be about Matts secret. Likewise, through Karen opening up to Matt about her opinions of Frank, Matt knew she was someone he could count on to not judge him the way Foggy did.
I think, whether or not we see the followup to the reveal, or we just open two months after Elektra's death (like Charlie Cox suggests), the way the reveal goes is this: Matt gives Karen the "world on fire" speech he gave Claire and Foggy regarding his abilities. He also explains to her everything that he was doing with Elektra during and after Frank Castle's trial, including Karen getting kidnapped by the Hand as bait. As a result, Karen learns who Stick, Elektra, the Chaste, and the Hand are.
I want to think that perhaps Danny draws them into this. It's implied that Karen is his media contact, again since she was the one who published the chemical plant story. Seeing that the Hand has attacked K'un L'un, Danny and Colleen return to New York City and Danny decides that the Hand can't be fought in the shadows, they have to be fought in the open. So he contacts Karen figuring that she might be willing to run it. Danny is unaware that Karen has been involved with the Hand in the past, or knows someone else that has fought the Hand. But Matt gets drawn into the fray as a result of Karen informing him about what she's learned from Danny, for two reasons: A) Matt is familiar with Madame Gao since when they were bringing down Wilson Fisk. And Karen is on it because there's an injustice going on in her city and she cant stand that. Also B) Matt and Karen probably take this personally. They're both outraged that the organization that kidnapped Karen is still out there, and Matt is moreso given that Elektra had been killed during the rescue. Thus, Matt and Karen begin working together to investigate Midland Circle, with Matt going after them as Daredevil, and Karen is sleuthing things out with her investigative journalism work.
Alternately, Matt and Karen immediately dive into investigating the Hand on their own, again since both have every reason to want to see them dismantled. That Karen was the one who published the chemical plant story raises the possibility that she and Matt already knew about the Hand's infiltration of Rand Enterprises before Danny came on the scene, and publishing stories about the other things going on at the company are Karen's way of giving herself an alibi.
Karen might even be the one who pushes Matt to team up with Danny, Luke and Jessica. Remember how back in season 1 of Daredevil, when Matt was distraught after seeing what was going on in Madame Gao's drug lab, it was Karen who told him "You're not alone, Matt. You never were." Matt realized the need to work with others from his time with Elektra and some of his time with Frank Castle. So Matt probably will take these words to heart and be the one to motivate the team-up. That said, Karen might very well become the next person from the supporting cast besides Claire to interact with all four. Besides Matt, Danny and Jessica, it's likely that Karen might be the Bulletin reporter assigned to cover Luke Cage's trial. With her involvement in taking down Wilson Fisk, her investigation into Frank Castle, and her having been saved twice by Daredevil, it's hard not to imagine Ellison would see Karen as one with special insight into the world of vigilantes.
It's also possible that Karen will convince Matt to work with the other Defenders, and in exchange Karen goes public on their activities.
- Confirmed. They are K'un-Lun's agents on Earth, designed to back the Fist when/if the bearer emerges to fight the Hand.
- Jossed. It takes place a few months later.
Chances are, the Hand probably see the four of them are threats, and what a better way to get rid of them than to fight the Defenders in the Hand's home court. The Hand is going to manipulate events that will prompt the four Defenders in going there.
We know from the trailer footage that Matt may have involuntarily joined the fight. He is in his suit and tie, not in his Daredevil suit, and he had to steal Jessica's scarf at the last second to improvise a mask.
- The Hand schism will split them into fingers
- Gao, Pinky; Bakuto, Ring (represent the heart) or thumb (humanity), Elektra/formerly Nobu's faction, Middle; Danny's mom or Sigourney Weaver's character (the thumb)
- The Defenders are the counter hand each defender fighting a finger boss
- Did Cottonmouth die broke? Is there any reason to bring him back?
- Cliffhanger characters like Will Simpson and Diamondback are working for the Hand and represent a foil to their character (Simpson's power as a foil to Jessica and Diamondback foil to Luke)
- Gao, Pinky; Bakuto, Ring (represent the heart) or thumb (humanity), Elektra/formerly Nobu's faction, Middle; Danny's mom or Sigourney Weaver's character (the thumb)
- For instance, the appearance of Karen Page in The Punisher (2017) seems to suggest that she has taken up the role Ben Urich played in the comics as an informant and ally (and girlfriend in Matt's case) to the street-level heroes.
- Marci Stahl and Foggy Nelson, introduced in Daredevil (2015), might make appearances in season 2 of Jessica Jones (2015) since Jeri Hogarth is an ally of Jessica's
- Will Simpson, or Nuke, introduced in Jessica Jones (2015), might appear in season 3 of Daredevil (2015) and still carry out his attack on Hell's Kitchen on Fisk's orders like he did in the Daredevil: Born Again storyline
- On May 9, 2017, Marvel and Netflix released a number of motion graphics through their social media accounts for each series, showcasing various character crossovers: Matt sitting on a bus stop bench advertising Trish Talk; Luke at Fogwell's Gym; Danny meditating outside Jessica's front door; Jessica at Rand Enterpries; and Matt in an elevator stopped at the floor where Madame Gao's secret office is in the Rand building.
- Partially Confirmed. Matt doesn't have much of a reaction either way, Luke is skeptical, and Jess even more so.
Based on what trailer footage is available, it looks as if the Defenders will already have teamed up with other members before Midland Circle. The pairings going in will be Matt and Jessica, and Luke and Danny. This makes sense given that Jessica and Luke know each other, but neither of them knows Matt or Danny.
Matt and Jessica already have a lot in common: they likely be the most reluctant in joining a team, preferring to work alone (Matt remembers what happened to Elektra the last time he worked with someone; while Jessica was reluctant to work with others in her show because she couldn't trust that Kilgrave might be able to get to them), and preferring the cover of darkness and rooftops to overt operations. Plus, they gained their abilities in car accidents, and they have profound struggles with identity and purpose. For Matt and Jessica, their similarities will likely be what bring them together.
With Luke and Danny, it's a different story. It will be their differences that factor into their teamwork: Danny is desperate to be a hero, to find purpose; Luke is your classic reluctant hero, opting to mostly stay out of things if he can. Danny has an irrational and overly emotional approach to most things; Luke is a calm and rational actor. Danny is classically and strictly trained in the art of kung fu; Luke is a brawler with no real need for form.
- Partially Confirmed. Matt and Jess meet first, as do Luke and Danny, but neither pair works together before the big meeting.
Plus, Stick said during Daredevil season 2, "Enough with these amateurs. Time to get the band back together." Acknowledging Matts utter failure against the Hand (and assuming they dont know or possibly trust Dannys capabilities yet), perhaps the Chaste will attempt to take the Hand down on their own. They will fail, probably sustaining some serious damage (e.g. Sticks hand or full arm). In fact, since Stick seems to be alone in all of these shots, he may be the only survivor of the altercation, which would be really upsetting but not out of the question. This setback may be what prompts him to ask Matt, Jessica, Luke, and Danny to give him a hand.
- Confirmed. He chops it off to escape the Hand.
- An enemy (possibly Weaver's character) is attacking the group.
- Way back in the first season of Daredevil, Stick mentions "the gate" opening with the question of whether or not Matt will be ready when it does. Whatever this gate is, perhaps it opens underground, creating a huge tremor. We know the Hand has been digging underground for some time.
- Some have speculated that this ties into K'un L'un disappearing at the end of Iron Fist. Maybe the Hand somehow made it reappear under the streets of New York. Again, this could be why the Hand dug a huge hole in the ground.
- The Bulletin Tumblr page has one headline showing the construction of the Midland Circle building on what was Elena Cardenas' tenement, with the ominous caption "Earth shaking, ground-breaking". Perhaps the construction of the building is somehow involved.
- The Emergency Awesome youtube channel speculated that Stick is leading the team in a training session and perhaps Danny and Luke collided, creating a shockwave that knocked the team down.
- Confirmed. The big shockwave is caused by the Hand trying to open the gate.
From the trailer shots, we can see that Matt still lives out of his apartment, meaning he clearly has some form of income given the high rent prices in Hell's Kitchen. Which makes one wonder what Matt has been doing for a day job since telling Karen his secret.
- He never lost his job. He's still a lawyer. In fact, going by Charlie Cox's statements, he's been mostly retired from Daredevil since Elektra's death, which would mean he has more time to spend doing his job, and making amends with Foggy and Karen. Matt presumably has thrown himself into helping out Nelson & Murdock's old clientele, with Foggy possibly throwing the occasional "complexities" case to Matt to give him something to do. Despite some tension, I believe Foggy and Karen will still help him.
- He almost certainly probably got all of Elektra's money. We don't know what was written into Elektra's will, but Elektra admitted she fell in love with Matt against orders, so she probably had her will changed to bequeath all of her assets to Matt.
- Even if Matt's reputation as a lawyer has soured due to Frank Castle's trial, he is still a good lawyer and there are always going to be people who need legal help and cant afford anyone else. Matt has time to re-establish himself. He can try to run an independent practice. Plus, with Matt's reputation is a walking lie detector, he's more likely to take cases that the person should win (because they are not guilty), so that will allow him to have a nice-looking win ratio, and lawyers with good win/loss ratio records on paper are the ones you'd probably be more willing to consider hiring for cases. Alternately, perhaps he starts doing pro bono work for Blake Tower or whoever has become district attorney in light of Reyes' murder, since it helps to have connections, and having contacts in the DA's office (through Blake Tower) and the NYPD (through Brett Mahoney) can help him get information that can help him during his Daredevil activities.
- It's likely that Karen is helping Matt with his finances. As Nelson & Murdocks de facto office manager, she presumably was the one who dealt with their creditors and handled paying the bills. However Karen might feel about Matt personally after his big reveal, she probably owes it to him to make sure he understands the firms finances and can manage them himself going forward. Maybe Karen is even doing part-time work as Matt's secretary to help him with the financial aspects of running an independent practice.
- On a related note, that Matt is likely stepping back from Daredevil for a while, has some precedence in the comics. A lot of fanfics out there for post-season 2, have Matt going out all night every night and running himself ragged, it's more realistic to imagine Matt adapting a slightly less grueling schedule. In the comics, Matt has occasional breaks from Daredevil, and Matt and Foggy always seem to be closing their business and re-opening under another name. So Nelson & Murdock falling apart in Daredevil season 2 doesn't exactly seem too out of place.
- There's some evidence suggesting that Karen is working with Matt to investigate the Hand, through Rand Enterprises. The chemical plant story doesn't seem like something that Karen would publish unless she was trying to deflect suspicion. Also consider how at the press conference, Karen's colleague Jennifer Many asks a question about Danny's stay at Birch Psychiatric Hospital, which the Meachums had taken efforts to cover up through paying off people; which could suggest Matt or Karen are plugged in at Rand.
- Partially confirmed. Matt has been working, but mostly or solely pro bono cases (ie. he doesn't get paid). It gets Lampshaded in a conversation with Jessica.
We know she's the head of an investment group called Midland Circle, but recent comments from costume designer Stephanie Maslansky imply that she's also the leader of The Hand:
- Id say very elegant, very beautiful. I had so much fun designing her wardrobe. It was very, possibly even in a way, grounded in an older world. Maybe very, in a way, European. More of a global feeling to her wardrobe, very lush. I think that shes clearly a baddie, and shes the head of an ancient organization which is grounded in the comics. I hope that her wardrobe reflects that kind of ancientness. I hope I havent said too much. I hope Marvel doesnt come after me.
So when Bakuto said to Danny that there was someone from the Hand who's interested in meeting him, that "someone" probably is Alexandra.
- Confirmed. She is in charge, but it's more of a "first among equals" deal.
- Alternately, it's the Golden Sands. Danny and Colleen are on good terms with the Triad boss who runs that joint, and it's unlikely that the payout for destruction caused by criminal activity would be enough for Connie to buy a nicer space.
- Both jossed. It's a new place called the Royal Dragon.
Couple Ward's remark, with Elektras skills and predisposition for killing, would make her massively dangerous. But it wouldnt necessarily result in a willingness to help the Hand. She rejected them in Daredevil after all, and getting skewered by Nobu probably didnt make her any more enamored of them. One factor that is unclear is what effect becoming a fully realized Black Sky will have on Elektra. It's possible that perhaps with Elektra, she gets subjected to some form of mental numbing or brainwashing, and demonic possession is still a very real possibility. Shes clearly doing the Hands bidding to a certain degree here, and the details of how that happened are still ripe for speculation.
What is clear is that Elektra now has super strength, as there's one shot where she punches Matt with enough force that Matt is sent flying backwards. However, its also notable that she decides to just hit Matt, rather than gutting him with her sword. This, coupled with how long she waits before even entering the fight, suggests that either A) that shes been told to keep them alive, or B) that shes fighting whatever control shes under.
- Partially Confirmed. She does break their conditioning, but makes a strong Heel turn... though she seems to turn Face later on with Matt.
The seeds for this seem to have been planted in Iron Fist, when Danny mentioned to the board of directors in "Felling Tree with Roots" that Karen was the reporter that publicized his decision to close down the chemical plant.
Given the comments in Iron Fist about how he might come back from the dead the same way Harold Meachum did, I think Bakuto's resurrection is guaranteed. I can imagine Colleen being negatively affected by this: for one, with Bakuto back on his feet, messing with her former students and acting as a threat to her and her friends, she may experience some major regret about not ensuring his death when she had the chance. Her decision to spare him at the time was vital to her rejection of the Hand.
And clearly, Colleen never made it far enough into the Hands inner circle to learn about their resurrection practice, so having watched Davos stab him, she made the logical assumption that he was gone for good. But logic aside, she has the capacity to kill when required to (shes a samurai, after all even if it hasnt been emphasized in the show as much as it is in the comics), and shes going to blame herself for not preventing Bakuto from returning. At the same time, the Hand was her family and primary support system for years, and everything happened so quickly toward the end of Iron Fist that she hasnt yet had time to fully process this loss. She went from devoting her life to Bakuto and the Hand to fighting for her life against them, and thats a trauma shes not going to get over anytime soon. Jessica Henwick has confirmed that the Hands betrayal will factor in a big way into Colleens arc in The Defenders.
As much as she wants Bakuto dead, Colleen's love for him was so strong and recent and long-lasting that confronting him again will likely really, really hurt. Matts not the only person who will be forced to face down a supposedly dead loved one whos gone bad.
- Confirmed by the second trailer.
It's kinda surprising, from the trailer footage, that Foggy Nelson isn't the one showing up to defend Jessica, given that Jeri Hogarth hired him on Marci Stahl's recommendation and on his experience in defending Frank Castle, and Hogarth has a close working relationship with Jessica.
This means, there's a number of possibilities as to why Matt shows up instead of Foggy:
- Hogarth tries to get Foggy to defend Jessica, and Foggy instead tips off Matt and fumbles around so that Matt gets there first.
- Whoever died is someone that Matt knows as well (unlikely)
- Whoever died is someone that Matt and Karen were using for information on the Hand (likely)
- Sgt. Brett Mahoney tips Matt off that the case is weird. True, Brett may have been more of Foggy's friend than Matt's friend, but he still has his working relationship with Daredevil, and probably is still tipping Matt off to "interesting cases" along the way.
- Claire reaches out to Matt to defend Jessica (unlikely as Claire's relationship with Jessica is weak and I doubt they're in contact)
- The first possibility is partially confirmed. Hogarth orders Foggy to help Jess, but to do it in a way that won't be tied back the firm. He turns to Matt, and the rest is history.
- Confirmed or Jossed as a matter of taste. Some fans who disliked him still do so, and others find his interactions with the other make him tolerable.
- Mostly Jossed. It does come up once or twice when figures of speech are used, but that's it.
- Jossed. The restaurant is the first place they take shelter in after escaping Midland Circle, at the beginning of their team-up.
- Jossed. The Defenders take their loved ones to a police station to deter the Hand from pulling another kidnapping. Misty does lose her arm, but it's when she saves Claire from Bakuto.
A lot of Colleens past in Iron Fist was left really vague and underdeveloped, and its tough to tell if that was just writer/showrunner negligence, or if it was to leave room for future revelations. Colleen says that she doesnt know what was happening to her mother at the time. This is either a really poignant and realistic depiction of how a young child might perceive/not perceive illness, or a hint that her mother's death was not normal. Theres also the fact that were meant to assume she died of cancer, which immediately reminds us of Harold Meachum, who was resurrected by the Hand after dying from cancer. That could have been a little subliminal hint, maybe?.
Plus, we never get all the details about how Colleen joined the Hand in the first place. She says that she went to Bakuto's compound after her grandfather died, and Bakuto references her being lost before she arrived but did she end up there purely by chance? Or did her grandfather tell her to go there? Colleens comment about the Hand in Episode 10, This is my family. Maybe the only one Ive ever known, is an intriguing statement when juxtaposed with the clear love she felt for her grandfather, and could support the latter possibility. Theres also the fact that Madame Gao acts as though she knew him ("honor the warrior your grandfather created").
Taking all of this into account, theres a good possibility that Colleens mother and grandfather (and maybe even her father; we know practically nothing about Lee Wing in this universe) could have been involved with the Hand. And of course, that means they might not even be dead anymore.
There's also a theory that Colleen's family were/are involved with the Chaste instead, and Bakuto actively recruited Colleen in order to steal her from the enemy. Regardless, either option would be a big enough revelation to warrant saving it for The Defenders.
Also, on the topic of dead mothers with possible Hand connections, you have to remember that Madame Gao also mentioned having known Danny's mother long before she knew Harold. Which has its own meanings.
- Jossed. Colleen's past is mentioned, but only in the context of being in the Hand.
- Partially Confirmed. Matt does have faith that Elektra will break her conditioning, and is proven right... but she turns to the dark side of her own volition.
- Pretty much confirmed to be happening as of San Diego Comic Con 2017, as the showrunners confirmed Misty would appear in Iron Fist (2017) season 2.
In the second trailer, it's clear that Danny is the only one with any interest in teaming up. But when Matt comes around (the moment where Matt says "I'm glad we found each other" and Luke replies "I'm not hugging you"), Danny is noticeably absent. Also consider the stinger on the subway: it's just Matt, Luke, and Jessica, with no Danny. So it's possible that Danny will get kidnapped by the Hand, forcing Matt, Luke, and Jessica to finally work together and save him.
- Confirmed. Danny is taken, and the others have to rescue him.
- Partially Jossed. They do take refuge their briefly, but are made to escape it later on.
- Jossed. While they do have a past, it's as adversaries.
He's an African warlord and probably a very ruthless one based on Stick's description. But what we see and hear of Sowande suggests that he may be the ruthless militia commander that Father Lantom talked to Matt about back in Daredevil season 1.
How does an architect get C4? It's not something you buy at 7-11.
Which leads me to think, "What if the Hand wanted John Raymond to blow up the building?" They tell him to disappear and they provide him with an apartment and C4 and he hides his plans to blow up the building in his piano, plans that the police are only supposed to find after the building is destroyed. Somebody from the Hand was going to pick up the C4 and place the C4 in the building so the Hand could cover their tracks. Raymond would then die in the explosion, his wife would confirm to the cops that he had been acting strangely. He would have been their fall guy. However, Raymond had a change of heart and decided not to play ball, and that's why Elektra followed him to Jessica's apartment - either to threaten him into compliance or more likely to kill him.
The reason no charges were laid against Colleen or any of the other Defenders was because they survived the explosion and thus couldn't be the patsies. Bakuto was there to kill Colleen but he did nothing to stop her from planting the C4. The police didn't press charges because there are people in the Hand working with the NYPD who want all of this swept under the rug.
Fisk had had a falling out with Nobu and Gao over the death of the first Black Sky, and Gao's complicity in Vanessa's poisoning. So Raymond's plans to blow up Midland Circle may very well have been something Fisk directed from prison, to get back at the Hand. He may even still have some level of ownership on the property even after helping Nobu acquire it, allowing him to cash in on the insurance. The show never did get into John Raymonds head far enough to properly explore his possible motivations for trying to blow up Midland Circle.
- The second seasons of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage give credence to this theory. Jessica Jones gets involved with IGH, but the plot is clearly left unfinished. The plot of Luke Cage clearly leaves out the experiments involving himself and Diamondback so it is clear they will be expanded on during the next season of The Defenders.
- Jossed: Everything is cancelled.
- The resurrection process also requires large amounts of blood (enough to fill a casket). It doesn't seem as though she had access to that.
- Alternately, Shadowland happens with Elektra taking Matt's place.
Foggy and Karen are probably going to be under a lot of strain keeping up the appearance that Matt is alive or at least that his things are in order for when he does return in Daredevil season 3, since they can't risk Fisk or anyone else finding out Matt's identity and the shitstorm blowing back on them, or on Matt once he returns. Like with Matt's apartment, seeing as the set designers probably don't want have to design another set.
Likely, Foggy pays for Matt's rent until Matt comes back and is back on his feet. As Bobby Fish said to Luke in the third episode of Luke Cage, "No one's gonna be asking questions and shutting things down as long as things are paid for on time. Why do you think so many people get Grandma's house without having to fill out extra paperwork or hire a lawyer? You pay the bills, people shut up and get on with things." Somehow, it seems likely that Karen, refusing to believe Matt is gone for good, might break the lease on her current apartment and move into Matt's place so she can keep it clean and welcome for when Matt returns, and trying to hold onto him in some form.
- At least in The Punisher, Karen is clearly still believing Matt is "dead". But Matt isn't discussed or even mentioned in The Punisher, so we don't know if someone like Foggy or Danny is paying the rent on Matt's place. Karen's apartment did look a little cluttered though when Frank was in it, suggesting she has taken up possession of some of Matt's things.
As Stick explains at the Royal Dragon, the Fingers were trained in Kun-L'un, then got kicked out. Earlier, in Daredevil Season 2, Stick revealed to Matt that at a certain point afterward the Fingers became aware of the Black Sky, which is some kind of weapon. We learn that they want one, but have never managed to actually use one before. Its all very vague and mysterious to Matt and to the audience.
Upon meeting the five Fingers (Alexandra, Murakami, Sowande, Bakuto, and Madame Gao), we learn that the only one of the five who is actually interested in or informed about the Black Sky is Alexandra. In fact, she's kinda obsessed. She has apparently been talking their ears off about it for centuries and, much to their alarm, is now willing to risk all of their permanent deaths to acquire one.
That seems kinda odd. Alexandra claims that having the Black Sky on their side is essential, and will allow them to return to Kun-Lun (and presumably conquer it). And the Black Sky will give them the power they need to last another fifteen years, to acquire more of the substance, and to overcome their enemies. Except theres a logical fallacy when you think about it. Thanks to what Madame Gao and Nobu had been doing with Wilson Fisk prior to Matt breaking up that operation, the Hand acquired Elena Cardenas's tenement so they could construct Midland Circle, and thus have access to the dragon bones underneath. (They didn't yet discover the sealed door until after they started digging. At the time when Alexandra was actively pursuing Elektra, she had no clear need of extra firepower in order to access the substance.) And more to the point, if Alexandra hadnt used the substance on Elektra who, again, was not necessary for the Hands goals at the time the Hand wouldnt have been in such dire straits. Alexandra, in fact, helps create the mortality problem something the others even point out to her (Murakami even says, "You made a unilateral decision and used the last of the substance to resurrect her, and now we're all vulnerable").
But did the other four Fingers really need the Black Sky? No. They have been able to defend themselves for centuries, and are certainly capable of capturing Danny on their own. But Alexandra does. She needs power, by any means possible. We see throughout The Defenders that her leadership is faltering, and she is losing control of the rest of the Hand. She needs to cement her authority, to show them that only she is capable of keeping them alive and giving them what they need. Quite coincidentally, she is the only one who knows whats up with the Black Sky. Notice that Alexandra personally oversaw Elektras training with no input or oversight from the other four. She even makes sure that she is the only one to build a bond with Elektra, or to spend any real time with her. And she repeatedly emphasizes the necessity and power of the Black Sky (in suspiciously vague terms) at every opportunity and particularly when her colleagues start acting rebellious.
By dangling the threat of this super powerful weapon in front of the other Fingers, and insisting that they need it before they can carry out their plans, while also keeping all of the practical information about what the Black Sky does to herself, Alexandra has managed to hold her leadership position over the centuries. They need the Black Sky, and in order to acquire one, they need Alexandra. But once they finally get one nothing changes. Sure, Elektra is a good fighter, but that's what she always has been because of how early Stick had trained her, and her combat prowess speaks more to the intensity of Stick's training than to anything supernatural. And more to the point, Elektra doesnt do much to help the Hand. Alexandras colleagues are baffled, annoyed, and frightened by what looks like a severe lapse of judgement from their leader.
As Alexandra's strength weakens and her authority crumbles, she becomes more and more adamant about how great her new weapon is. Elektra is just a tool for Alexandra, just a power play, a weapon to hold in front of her enemies. But does she have any actual powers, beyond those Alexandra projects onto her? Maybe. There are a few moments during fights where Elektra displays possible super-strength and super-speed, like when fighting off Matt, Luke and Jessica as she's capturing Danny. But a strong argument could be made that she does not, and that the only new power she acquires as the Black Sky is the false significance that Alexandra places on her.
It also makes more sense, considering that Elektra doesn't seem to have undergone any personality change at all, so her years of vigorous training under Stick is a much better explanation for her abilities.
Shou Lao the Undying is the dragon from which an Iron Fist will gain its abilities from. However, Shou Lao can and will die if there is a new candidate for a new Iron Fist. But, it will be reborn sometime again, like a phoenix. (thus, continuing a cycle of iron fists)
So The Hand use the bones of Shou Lao to resurrect their fallen members or use it for other means (i.e. the drugs to make them profit). This bonds the DNA strand of Shou Lao or something like that to the user when they are being resurrected.
The five Fingers of the Hand all demonstrate incredible strength and reflexes. They are able to manipulate Chi as well with the help from the abilities they gained from Shou Laos corpse (such as the palm strike move Madame Gao does).
As for the Black Sky, its abilities could even be equal to what all five leaders altogether could offer. And they're very rare, according Nobu in his interactions with Fisk during the first season of Daredevil, as the child he brought in with the shipping container was supposed to be the candidate for being the Black Sky, but Stick killed it. It's unclear why they didn't resurrect the kid. But let's also remember that the boy's death took place offscreen. So while Stick told Matt that he stuck an arrow in the kids heart, he also can be pretty deceptive and it's more likely that what really happened is he decapitated the kid and lied to Matt. Stick knew that the only way to prevent the Hand from resurrecting someone is by decapitating them, like what he did to Nobu and Sowande.
As for Elektra post-resurrection, she has gained super strength, agility and reflexes, durability (she's able to hold her own when fighting Luke or Jessica), and even Chi manipulation (when Elektra enters the Royal Dragon, she breaks the blockade that Jessica set up in the front door by using the same palm strike move that Madame Gao later uses to shove aside the dumpster blockading the back door).
Elektra is a peak human in the comics but it is stated in the show that she got abilities as a side effect of her resurrection. Even in the volume 1 run of her solo series, she states that she heals fast. It is also stated in the comics that she COULD manipulate chi to hasten her regeneration, numb her pain or maybe boost her strength. She could even punch through a wall in the comics.
While the show isn't very clear as to what its version of Elektra can really do, its obvious that she isnt peak potential YET. She hasnt even showcased her telepathic and limited psychotic prowess, some of which she had even before her resurrection. We know that she can mask her heartbeat, as that's the only explanation for how Matt doesn't sense her in his apartment when he came back in from kissing Karen, or is unable to tell when she's lying).
Daredevil season 3 certainly won't be the last we see of Fisk. He's pretty much set to swoop in once he gets out of jail. Cottonmouth and Mariah are dead, The Hand has been destroyed, most of the rival gangs have been killed for various reasons. It's kind of a fortunate thing for him he was sent to jail cause he's perfectly set up to build a syndicate larger than the one he had in Daredevil season 1...and his only contribution was killing Dutton's crew in jail, and even that wasn't by his own hand, it was by manipulating Frank Castle into doing the messy stuff.
There is also quite a bit written about Alexander the Greats sexuality and gender identity, which makes it plausible he would choose to be resurrected over and over again as a woman. Jessica finds 5 old documents with her handwriting, all starting with A and all female. One of the names has the last name King as well. It would also explain how the 5 leaders of the Hand are all equal in theory, yet Alexandra has established herself as the undisputed leader over 4 other extremely powerful people.