Over the last two years, Marvel and Netflix have debuted four seasons of original content set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe - with the focus on street-level heroes in and around Hell's Kitchen. This has allowed the likes of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), and Luke Cage (Mike Colter) to get their own series ahead of Iron Fist (Finn Jones) and Punisher (Jon Bernthal) getting solo series in 2017. Once these five series have materialized, these separate heroes will join forces in The Defenders.
The Defenders is the final and fifth series that was originally contracted as part as the partnership between the streaming service and Marvel, but this time only eight episodes will be made instead of the traditional 13. With excitement already starting for the Netflix series thanks to Deborah Ann Woll being confirmed to appear, it appears as though filming on the mini-series is now about to get underway (assuming it hasn't already started).
Reallywittyusername1 on Reddit has posted the first photo from The Defenders set - with only one member of the eponymous superhero team having been spotted, thus far. The first photo not only confirms that production is either underway or about to begin, but also shows Jessica Jones herself, Krysten Ritter wearing her familiar leather jacket, jeans, and scarf that her Marvel character has routinely worn in the past.
It's currently looking as though The Defenders will hit Netflix by mid-to-late 2017. It will for certain be released after Iron Fist season 1 in March, but The Defenders' shorter episode count should allow for a shorter filming period - meaning, it might be able to arrive on Netflix before The Punisher season 1 does, next year. Expect Marvel/Netflix to space out the three shows evenly throughout 2017 (re: some 3-4 months apart each), either way.
Once production on The Defenders is fully underway, fans will be able to get a better understanding of when they will finally see the Defenders work together for the first time. All four Defenders will be roaming the streets of New York by the time the mini-series picks up, so the interesting part will be finding out what the circumstances/events are that bring them together - in an effort to do battle with Sigourney Weaver's mystery antagonist. There's also some question as to whether or not Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) will be lending the Defenders a helping hand, in order to more closely tie their mini-series adventure together with next year's Punisher season 1 premiere.
Daredevil seasons 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, with The Defenders and The Punisher arriving later that year. Premiere dates for the next seasons of Jessica Jones and Daredevil have not yet been announced.