Another nail looks like it's being put into the coffin of The Defenders as Jessica Jones star Krysten Ritter has expressed she doesn't see another season happening. When Marvel's Netflix plans for four hero-centric series were announced, way back in 2013, it was always with the intention that the group would unite for a crossover series in The Defenders. The individual series were being treated as more of a staging ground for The Defenders, than their own thing. In the remaining years, though, things have definitely shifted.
Now the focus of the Netflix section of the MCU is very much on the individual series. To be fair, this was in motion before The Defenders premiered. When Daredevil got a season 2, it was clear that The Defenders had become a step in the journey, not a destination. Yet even though The Defenders was only announced as a single season, there was always an impression that it could continue for more if it was successful. For a number of reasons, that didn't happen. According to Krysten Ritter, the foreseeable future for Marvel on Netflix will be focused on the individual series.
The Jessica Jones actress was asked directly about the chance of a Defenders season 2 and its critical reception by Vulture. Ritter didn't totally deny the possibility. However, she was pretty clear that no plans are in motion for the crossover to continue and they never really were to start. Ritter explained:
Well, I think Jessica was pretty well received. People were excited to see her again, so that made us happy because Jessica is the next up. Y’know, I had a great time doing The Defenders and honestly, it was such a good experience that I would even do it again. I don’t think we are doing it again. It was never intentioned to do it again, but, you know, if I was given another opportunity, I would. My heart is with my show because of the subject matter and because of the great drama that we get to do and the personal issues that we explore. For me, that is more the type of content that I enjoy as a viewer and as a performer. My heart is in Jessica Jones, but I did have a great time doing The Defenders with the guys. We had a good time. It is what it is.
Ritter's response is very diplomatic, mainly because it dances around the fact that The Defenders wasn't received particularly well critically upon release. The actress' main focus is that Jessica was loved in The Defenders and that's definitely true. Ritter's performance as Jessica Jones was a highlight. However, the overall impression of The Defenders was that it was a bit of a mess, lacking a strong villain or plot. Iron Fist is a notable exception but Jessica Jones, Daredevil and Luke Cage will all much more acclaimed than the crossover mini-series.
The audience didn't turn out for The Defenders either. It was reportedly the least viewed Marvel series on Netflix. The Defenders turned in numbers far below expectations for not only Marvel but Netflix as whole. Ultimately, The Defenders only made an impression with the most hardcore fans.
It's true, as Ritter explained, that The Defenders really wasn't originally meant to have a season 2, but neither was Daredevil. If the show had been a smash hit, it's very likely that Netflix would've tried to move ahead with a season 2 or plant some kind of seeds for the future. The future of all the Marvel series is a little murky given Disney's own plans for a streaming service to compete with Netflix. Yet, a success is still a success, no matter the platform. The overall response to, Defenders, was, at best, lukewarm.
The news of no more Defenders is probably disappointing to some fans. The Defenders wasn't perfect, but it was enjoyable. Plenty of potential was laid in the series for the heroes to keep working together. Any problems with The Defenders season 1 really could've been ironed out in a season 2 with a much better villain.
However it's probably for the best for Marvel and Netflix to keep the spotlight on the respective solo series. Crossovers still can and should happen. Luke Cage made his debut in Jessica Jones season 1 and Danny Rand will appear in Luke Cage season 2. Yet, the Netflix Marvel shows are probably at their best when they're just narrowed in on one hero and their journey, not trying to serve so many masters all at once. Less is definitely more in this case
All episodes of Jessica Jones season 2 will drop on Netflix Friday, March 9 at 12am PST.