In 2012, The Avengers saved the planet, but a few blocks in New York City were horribly damaged by their battle with Loki. While the damage that happens to small areas of the world has been addressed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films - most specifically in Captain America: Civil War - the majority of the MCU's heroes have been too busy protecting the Earth and guarding the galaxy to help clean up the streets after a big battle leaves a city scarred. They don't have time to deal with drug dealers and crime lords; the heroes who do that, trying to clean up areas of New York like Hell's Kitchen and Harlem, are not Avengers. They are Defenders.
There have been three series so far dealing with these heroes: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Coming up next is Iron Fist, the story of a vengeful billionaire with incredible martial arts skills, aided by a mystical power. Once that show has aired, it will be time for all these heroes to team up and work together - protecting New York as The Defenders.
Iron Fist actors Finn Jones and Jessica Henwick recently sat down with IGN to talk about both Iron Fist and The Defenders. One of the things they spoke about was the relationship between Danny Rand and Luke Cage, who are partners in the comics. According to Jones, his relationship with actor Mike Colter - who both he and Henwick describe as "So much fun" - is really good and that carries over into the relationship with the characters. Jones admits that some of the scenes he shares with Colter have been his favorites so far.
Jones specifically praised the Defenders' writers, noting that the relationship between Rand and Cage is something the fans have huge expectations for and commenting that the scripts have a slow and natural build for the relationship that he feels pays off. He also credited his personal relationship with Colter and the natural energy between them.
Jones was also asked how Rand, who is an optimistic character, fits in with his darker and more jaded Defenders. Jones noted that his character's lighthearted hopefulness "...gets him in a lot of trouble." Apparently there are some who would take advantage of Rand, which can endanger him. Henwick also noted that The Defenders takes place a few months after Iron Fist and the events of the earlier series changes both their characters.
While Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage have lived in a world full of evil and dangers their whole lives, Rand has been isolated in a monastery since childhood. It makes sense that he would have a more upbeat view of the world than the others. This interview indicates that when he returns to New York on his own series, some of that light will be dampened. By the time he joins the others, he will still have a sunnier outlook than they have - but he will not be as naive as before.
Daredevil seasons 1 and 2, Jessica Jones season 1, and Luke Cage season 1 are now available on Netflix. Iron Fist season 1 premieres on March 17. The Defenders arrive sometime in the summer, with The Punisher coming later this year. Premiere dates for the newest seasons of Jessica Jones, Daredevil, and Luke Cage have not yet been revealed.