Last year, Netflix launched their own street-level corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the original series Daredevil, which focused on the titular superhero as he attempted to clean up the streets of Hell's Kitchen, New York City. The series was followed by season 1 of Jessica Jones last fall, season 2 of Daredevil earlier this year, and season 1 of Luke Cage last month. The NYC-based corner of the MCU will continue next year with Iron Fist, the Daredevil spinoff, The Punisher, and the team-up limited series, The Defenders.
With Iron Fist debuting in March, The Defenders will follow later in the year, and is currently gearing up to begin production -- reportedly in early November -- for its own as-yet-unknown 2017 release date. Now, Marvel and Netflix have announced the director who will helm the early episodes of The Defenders series.
Marvel [h/t CBR] announced S.J. Clarkson will direct the first two episodes of The Defenders, which will be an 8-episode limited series, and serve as executive producer. Clarkson previously directed the first two episodes of Jessica Jones season 1, and has additionally helmed episodes of Netflix's Orange is the New Black and HBO's Vinyl. Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb said of Clarkson's work:
"S.J.'s take on the material is outstanding. We loved her work on Marvel’s Jessica Jones and couldn’t think of a more talented and accomplished person to helm the first two episodes of Marvel’s The Defenders."
The Defenders will unite the heroes of Netflix's other Marvel series, including Matt Murdock aka Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Danny Rand aka Iron Fist (Finn Jones). In addition to the main superheroes, The Defenders will include other characters from the various Marvel Netflix series, with Luke Cage's Misty Knight (Simone Missick), Jessica Jones' Malcolm Ducasse (Eka Darville), and Daredevil's Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson) already confirmed to appear in the limited series.
Considering Clarkson's previous work with Marvel and Netflix, and the amount of critical praise the Jessica Jones series premiere received, fans will certainly be excited to see her return for The Defenders. Marvel tapping Clarkson for the Netflix team-up additionally comes on the heels of Jessica Jones showrunner Melissa Rosenberg revealing plans to hire all women to direct the show's second season. It seems Marvel may be working toward better female representation in terms of directors on more series than simply Jessica Jones (though it remains to be seen who will direct the remaining six episodes of The Defenders).
Still, while fans may be excited that Marvel announcing the director of The Defenders' first two episodes means the series is getting closer to beginning production, it's only a small piece of the whole puzzle. For instance, Marvel announced at NYCC that Sigourney Weaver will play the series' villain, but exact details of her character -- like a name, for instance -- have yet to be revealed. That said, this annoucement likely indicates more information is on its way -- not to mention the possibility of revealing set photos once filming begins in earnest -- so fans will get a better understanding of The Defenders.
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 expected later in the year. Premiere dates for the newest seasons of Jessica Jones, The Punisher, and Daredevil have not yet been announced.