The Defenders brings together Matt Murdock as Daredevil, Danny Rand as Iron Fist, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. The latest Netflix Marvel offering sees the four teaming up to fight The Hand, and though each individual's standalone seasons have crossed over at points, this is the first time the four have shared screen time. While many of them don't know of the existence of the other, Jessica and Luke do know each other very well indeed.
Not only do they know of one another, they also know of the othe'rs powers, though they weren't aware when they first met in a bar back in Jessica Jones season 1. Back then, all Jessica knew was that she liked Luke, he was sweet on her, and they went from casual flirting on first meeting to bed, pretty quick. Luke's tremendous strength meant that he held back slightly, and although Jessica told him "I won't break," he clearly had no idea what exactly that meant until she fought alongside him in a bar room brawl. Once that was discovered, the chemistry between the pair deepened; united by a knowledge that they were not alone in the world after all. They finally found someone else that understood and appreciated their powers and abilities, and that someone else was pretty damn fine.
Ultimately, even though they're a long-time superhero couple in Marvel comics, their relationship wasn't to be on screen at that point in time. The reappearance of Kilgrave in Jessica's life meant that, eventually, she had to come clean to Luke and admit that under Kilgrave's influence, she had killed Reva, Luke's wife. An admission like that is not something that anyone can work past easily, and with Jessica focused on bringing Kilgrave down, Luke walked out of her life and went to work in Harlem, instead.
He's still in Harlem when Luke Cage season one picks up, and Claire Temple appears, as she does in all the Netflix shows. Initially, Luke pursues a romance with Misty Knight, but Claire really does turn his head. Frustratingly, they skirt around one another and never actually get that 'coffee' (very much a euphemism) that they promise each other. Luke is sent to jail, and Claire moves on again, forming a friendship with Colleen Wing and Danny Rand during Iron Fist season 1. That said, it is shown that Luke and Claire are still writing to each other, at the least, and she clearly holds him close in her affections. Having had a failed romance with Matt Murdock, Claire has fallen for another superhero, but Luke is a much more strong and commanding presence, and he doesn't seem to be so much of a risk for Claire.
The Defenders takes a long time for the central four to all come together, but it doesn't take long at all for the newly released Luke to claim that coffee with Claire. The pair share a long overdue hookup that is quick and causes an awful lot of damage to Claire's apartment. After, they both seem satisfied, and it seems as though Luke might have found someone he actually likes enough and can trust enough for a relationship. Then he sees Jessica.
The first time they set on one another after so long, there's an undeniable spark. They're casual about it, and to be fair, they're too busy fighting The Hand to really act on their feelings, but there's something, and it's something far stronger than anything he has with Claire. Jessica briefly explains their history to Danny, but as ever with Jessica, it's dismissive and she doesn't talk about feelings. Make no mistake, though; she fell hard for Luke and it hurt when he left. Now he's back, Jessica is unaware of his thing with Claire, and seeing him at work again brings up a whole slew of emotions.
Meanwhile, Claire gets taken into safe custody at the precinct along with the rest of The Defenders' loved ones in order to keep her protected from The Hand. It is then that she, along with Colleen, begins to question her place in the Defenders framework. Given that she has no special powers, Claire begins to think that she's only used for patching them up (literally) and providing emotional support. Of course, that's not the case for any of the four, but it's easy to see how and why she thinks that. Imagine, then, how she's going to feel when it's realized that Jessica and Luke have an explosive shared history.
Going forward, it's not yet known whether Luke Cage will return to Jessica Jones in season 2. However, it seems like that could be the case, given the events of The Defenders, and if that does happen, could we see Jessica, Luke, and Claire caught in a love triangle? Marvel doesn't shy away from sex in its Netflix series, but it also doesn't spend a lot of unnecessary time on romance. That said, Luke's attitudes to Jessica and Claire differ wildly, and it might be fun to see that explored. With Claire, he's more tender and romantic, yet there is most definitely passion, as the scene in Claire's apartment shows. With Jessica, given her unwillingness to be romantic at all, Luke isn't so open and warm, but the sex is hotter. With Claire, friendship and romance came first, with Jessica it was sex. But Jessica also gives him the intellectual match he's seeking. Not to say Claire is in any way dumb, but given that they are kindred spirits, Jessica and Luke are a better pairing, if Jessica can only learn to let go of her past hurt, and really open up to Luke.
In the Marvel comics, Luke and Jessica do get together, properly. They marry, and have a daughter, and they make a good team. While we're unlikely to see that in Jessica Jones or Luke Cage's second seasons, it could be the point that Marvel will eventually bring us to. And that's by no means a bad thing. As lovely as Claire is, Jessica and Luke do seem unable to ignore the spark, and that will eventually grow into a flame. Set photos for Jessica Jones season 2 hint at a possible new romance for Jessica, something that could well ignite some jealousy in Luke. But let's hope that Luke has the sense to neatly and kindly break things off with Claire before he moves back to Jessica. Hurt and resentment between two of Marvel's finest female characters is never going to be a good thing, and why waste time on that when all we really want to see is these badass characters bringing down the bad guys.
The Defenders Season 1 is currently available to stream on Netflix, and The Punisher premieres later in 2017. Additional seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage are expected to air in 2018.