Later this year, Netflix will debut their fifth Marvel series, but this one will be different than the rest. Unlike Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, or the soon to be released Iron Fist, The Defenders will bring every hero of Hell's Kitchen together to fight one mega threat. The DNA of each show will remain in the team up, but one question that has continued throughout each individual show is the timeframe that each takes place. Some of this has been obvious thanks to references made by Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), but Defenders has to worry about weaving together each show's timeline.
Based on the characters interacting within this world, the entire Netflix corner of the MCU doesn't appear to follow suit with the movies, which take place in real time of their release and in conjunction with one another. Instead, each series could very well take place within a few months of one another. When Defenders rolls around, that will be the case once again.
EW interviewed Charlie Cox about his experience with the Daredevil role and the journey he and the character have had to get to this point. When asked where viewers will find Matt Murdock next, Cox says that only a few months have passed since the events of season 2 of Daredevil and he is still reeling from the death of Elektra.
Well, it’s been a few months since the end of season 2. I think it’s been quite a challenging few months for him. He took the death of Elektra very badly — I think he feels responsible for that. One of Matt’s big things is trying to protect the people he loves, which is why he keeps his identity hidden, and he’s failed. He’s left holding the dead body of a loved one, and so I think he’s tried to turn a corner.
This is an interesting approach for the Marvel programs to take as it allows them the chance to explore numerous stories over the course of a short timeframe within the universe, but giving viewers multiple years to see it all. A different approach than this would result in viewers having to miss years of a character's growth simply due to the inability of Netflix and Marvel to produce a new season of each of their four main shows every year.
That said, it could ultimately raise questions of continuity for those that closely follow the timeline as they try and figure out whether or not certain movie events have unfolded yet for the Defenders team. This could be just another reason why it is difficult for the movies to include a cameo by any of these characters. If Avengers: Infinity War takes place in 2018 but the shows are still operating at a slower time, the showrunners would need to have a plan set in place early on so the characters would reach that point down the line.
For instance, Daredevil season 2 aired in the spring of 2016 but Defenders is coming out summer 2017. In real time it would've been over a year since these events that viewers would miss a large portion of Murdock's journey from that point. The Netflix world has continued to make great content regardless, so there is no reason to change course now, and at the very least gives fans a suitable time frame for when Defenders happens.
Daredevil season 1 and 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist will premiere on March 17, 2017. The Defenders and The Punisher will arrive in 2017. Premiere dates for the newest seasons of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Luke Cage have not yet been announced.