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How The Defenders Sets Up Phase 2 of Marvel's Netflix Series

Jessica Jones

It was perfectly fitting to find Jessica Jones slumped over a bar when The Defenders began. Still coping with the trauma of her ordeal with Kilgrave (David Tennant) months later, Jessica had stopped being a private eye and was living a shell of an existence. A new case draws her into the mystery surrounding the Midland Circle building, bringing her face to face with the Hand for the first time - which, along with teaming with the Defenders, was something she wanted absolutely no part of. By far the most reluctant Defender - and the only one, to her chagrin, who "doesn't know karate" - Jessica still proved to be invaluable to cracking the case around why the architect of the Midland Circle tower shot himself in her office and what he planned to do with a cache of c4 explosives.

The Defenders also reunited Jessica with her one-time lover Luke Cage, who has since moved onto a relationship with Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). Still, the old chemistry is there between them and the door was left open for something to happen down the road for one of modern Marvel Comics' great married couples. Jessica survived the war with the Hand, now aware that immortal ninjas are a real thing, and she did her part in bringing them down once and for all. In the end, Jessica reopened Alias Investigations, once more a private eye and ready for whatever comes next in Jessica Jones season 2 (which, unfortunately for her, will include the return of Kilgrave).

Luke Cage

The Defenders - Mike Colter as Luke Cage

Luke Cage was freshly paroled from prison when The Defenders began, and he was welcomed home with open arms by Claire Temple. After checking in with Detective Misty Knight (Simone Bissick), Luke learned that his arch enemies Mariah (Alfre Woodard) and Shades (Theo Rossi) were laying low, so he began investigating the deaths of local black kids in Harlem. This ultimately led him to discover the Hand was recruiting Harlem youths as clean up crew, which drew him into the circle of the Defenders.

The Defenders provided plenty of fan-pleasing interaction and fighting between comic book besties Luke Cage and Iron Fist, setting up the potential for the two of them to maybe one day headline a Netflix series together. Luke was the rock-solid moral conscience of the Defenders, but he also made other valuable allies like Foggy Nelson, his new attorney. Luke and Jessica Jones dealt with their lingering romantic issue, but in the end, he went back home with Claire to resume his role as the Hero of Harlem. Luke remains as noble and indomitable as ever for when Luke Cage season 2 begins.

Iron Fist

Danny Rand proved to be the most crucial Defender of all to the Hand's plan, as they needed the chi of the Immortal Iron Fist to open the doorway to their ultimate goal: the substance that grants the Hand immortality. Prior to their forming the Defenders, Danny and Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick) had traveled the world hunting the Hand, but getting nowhere close to stopping them. They were the first to encounter and survive a battle with the resurrected Elektra, which drew them back 'home,' to New York City.

Danny was the lightning rod for much of the action the Defenders found themselves mired in. He fought both with and against his fellow heroes, but Danny also went on the furthest journey to finding his purpose in the series. As Danny fought Elektra and the Hand in their final battle at Midland Circle, Colleen, a former Hand recruit herself, was able to finally kill her sensei Bakuto (Ramon Rodriguez) and put her past with the Hand to rest once and for all. Although, Colleen's fight with Bakuto cost Misty Knight dearly. As the Defenders attempted to flee the imminent explosion of Midland Circle, Daredevil whispered something in Danny's ear. We later learned that Daredevil asked Danny to take his place and "protect his city," which Danny now sees as his and Colleen's home.

Our last sighting of Iron Fist is of him taking Daredevil's usual rooftop patrols of New York City as his own. In addition, Simone Bissick was announced as a new cast member of Iron Fist season 2, so the beleaguered billionaire Danny Rand will have plenty of fan favorite support in the form of the Daughters of the Dragon.

The next phase of Marvel's acclaimed Netflix series looks to springboard into exciting new chapters. Meanwhile, The Defenders concluded with a glimpse at the fifth Marvel series soon to be upon us, not of a Defender, but of The Punisher. With The Defenders living up to the hype to cap off Phase 1, Marvel Netflix Phase 2, which kicks off in 2018, looks unstoppable.

NEXT: The Defenders Takes Misty Knight One Step Closer to the Comics

Marvel's The Defenders is now available to stream on Netflix.

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