Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb has explained why The Defenders season 1 is shorter than the previous Marvel/Netflix TV show seasons. Whereas The Defenders season 1 will only have eight episodes, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist have all had 13 episodes per season by comparison – opening up some questions as to why the shorter length for the Marvel/Netflix crossover event.
The shortened length of The Defenders could in part be down to previous criticisms of Netflix’s slow-burn Marvel superhero drama approach. With each episode being an hour in length, the likes of Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Daredevil have all (arguably) taken at least four hours to really get the story going, prompting complaints that each season is simply too long and drawn-out. It’s also possible, of course, that the cost of an additional five episodes of The Defenders was judged to be too expensive.
Marvel TV boss, Jeph Loeb, informed Collider that this was definitely not the case, before going into greater detail about the episode count for The Defenders:
“It had nothing to do with cost, it was always eight. It had to do with what was the best way to tell the story and our feeling was it broke really nicely, and when you watch the show you sort of see that’s sort of Act 1 and that’s Act 2 and Act 3. You know, you have to remember that when you have that many characters you have to be able to service them, but you also don’t want to overload the audience, and you want to be able to tell a story that’s compelling and will go along, and look, if you finish the eight and wish there was 13, then good on us.”
This eight-episode season length will hopefully keep the storylines much tighter, as we see the New York superheroes team up to take on The Hand, a returned Elektra (Elodie Yung) and new villain Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver). Like Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio), there is a quiet dignity to Alexandra’s villainy that no doubt hides a seriously dark adversary underneath. The fact that she’s putting Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho) in her place in a recent clip shows how powerful she’s going to be in the new series.
However, the first episode (which was shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2017) won’t see Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) or Danny Rand (Finn Jones) share the screen together, which means we’ll have to wait until at least episode 2 before we see the team unite.
The Defenders will not only bring together these Marvel heroes for the first time on screen, but also the likes of Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) and Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) from Daredevil; Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville) and Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) from Jessica Jones; Misty Knight (Simone Missick) from Luke Cage and Coleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) from Iron Fist, as well as Jeri Hogarth (Carrie-Ann Moss) and Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), as finally their individual TV show arcs come together.
Marvel’s The Defenders premieres on August 18th, followed by The Punisher season 1 later this fall. Premiere dates for the new seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist have yet to be announced.
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