In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the world is full of superheroes. There are dozens of people with various powers and abilities, which they can choose to use for good or evil. And yet there are only a handful of Avengers. True, their numbers rise and fall as people join or leave, but they are hardly the only heroes in the world. So when saving the world has been left to the Avengers, others with powers are doing what they can to protect their own backyards. They are The Defenders.
That's been the concept of the various Marvel shows on Netflix: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and the upcoming Iron Fist are about heroes on a smaller scale. They're fighting crime bosses, not aliens. And soon, much like the Avengers, they will be teaming up in The Defenders.
In a recent interview with EW, actor Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock/Daredevil) talked about what the four different Defenders have in common:
"From what we’ve shot so far, they want to genuinely make a difference and help people out. I’m not convinced that Jessica Jones feels quite as earnestly about that, but in some ways paradoxically, these great powers are also our great shame. These characters are living with a shame and a loneliness and have felt kind of ostracized. I think they felt like freaks and have been misunderstood. And as sad as that sounds, there’s also something quite beautiful about that. There’s something quite human about that."
Certainly this description fits the Defenders we have met so far. Murdock is a blind lawyer who defends clients no other lawyer will touch. Jessica Jones pays the bills as a P.I. but struggles with PTSD. Luke Cage was a convict on the run. All three of them try to keep their powers and abilities a secret, in order to fit into society a little better and keep their lives normal.
Cox was also asked to describe The Defenders as a team: "You know, just thinking of this shot we just did, I looked at it and I thought, 'What a bunch of misfits.' In a great way! It’s like a misfit Scooby gang." With incredibly different abilities, personalities, and training, that is probably a fair assessment of the team. Not to mention that so far, only Murdock has been a willing hero. Both Jones and Cage were reluctant to take on the mantle, eventually doing so only when they saw no other way to protect their homes and loved ones. And of course, it's not easy to assess how Danny Rand/Iron Fist will interact with the others. Until he is seen on screen, there is no way of knowing how much he is like his comic book counterpart - or how different.
When Cox was asked to describe The Defenders the show, rather than the group, his answer was... a little vague: "Progressive. I don’t know why, but you didn’t ask for a reason so that’s what you get." Well, fans will get a chance to see what Cox means when The Defenders debuts later this year.
The first two seasons of Daredevil, and the first seasons of both Jessica Jones and Luke Cage can be seen on Netflix. Iron Fist season one will be available March 17, 2017. The Punisher and The Defenders first seasons will also be released on Netflix in 2017.