The superheroes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage team-up in New York City. The Defenders will see Charlie Cox, Krysten Ritter, and Mike Colter reprising their roles as Matt Murdock / Daredevil, AKA Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, respectively, from previous television series. In March 2014, Loeb stated that the miniseries, officially titled Marvel's The Defenders, would begin filming after Luke Cage.
The Defenders is the name of a number of Marvel Comics superhero groups which are usually presented as a "non-team" of individualistic "outsiders," each known for following their own agendas. The team often battled mystic and supernatural threats.
Its original incarnation was led by Doctor Strange and included the Hulk, Namor, and, eventually, the Silver Surfer. They first appeared as The Defenders in Marvel Feature #1 (Dec. 1971).
The group had a rotating line-up from 1972 until 1986, with Dr. Strange and the Hulk being more or less constant members along with a number of other mainstays such as Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat, the Gargoyle, Beast, the Son of Satan, Luke Cage, and a large number of temporary members. The publication was retitled near the end of the run as The New Defenders but featured none of the original members and only Valkyrie, the Beast and the Gargoyle of the former long-term members. The concept was modified in the 1993–95 series Secret Defenders, in which Dr. Strange assembled different teams for each individual mission. Later, the original team were reunited in a short-lived series by Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen. In the 2000s, Marvel published a new miniseries featuring the classic line-up. Writer Matt Fraction and artist Terry Dodson launched a new Defenders series in December 2011.
The Defenders (2017)
Marvel's The Defenders, or simply The Defenders, is an upcoming American web television miniseries developed for Netflix by Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise and is the culmination of a series of interconnected shows from Marvel and Netflix. The miniseries is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Petrie and Ramirez serving as showrunners.
The limited series stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock / Daredevil, Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, and Finn Jones as Danny Rand / Iron Fist, all reprising their roles from their individual series. Élodie Yung also stars as Elektra Natchios, reprising the role from Marvel's Daredevil. Development of the miniseries began in late 2013, with Cox the first actor cast in May 2014, and Jones the final of the title four cast in February 2016. Petrie and Ramirez joined as showrunners in April, after serving in the same role on the second season of Daredevil, and filming began in New York City that October.
The Defenders will consist of eight episodes, and is scheduled to be released in 2017.
Marvel Netflix Series (2015-2017)
By October 2013, Marvel was preparing four drama series and a miniseries, totaling 60 episodes, to present to video on demand services and cable providers, with Netflix, Amazon, and WGN America expressing interest. In November 2013, it was announced that Disney would provide Netflix with live-action series based on Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage, leading up to a miniseries based on the Defenders. Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that Netflix was chosen to air the shows, "when Disney realized it could use the streaming service as a way to grow the popularity of the characters". He added that, if the characters prove popular, they could become feature films. In a February 2014 interview for the One-Shot All Hail the King, writer/director Drew Pearce confirmed the upcoming Netflix series would exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Later in February, Marvel announced that the Netflix series would be filmed in New York City, beginning in mid-2014, and confirmed that all the series leading to The Defenders would be 13 one-hour episodes each, and The Defenders would be a 4–8 episode miniseries concluding the other series. In April 2014, Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief Joe Quesada stated that the shows would be filming in areas of Brooklyn and Long Island City that still look like the old Hell’s Kitchen, in addition to sound stage work. He also confirmed that the series are set within the MCU, and that, beyond connecting to themselves, would connect with the films and other television series. As well, Quesada added that the episodes for each series would be released all at once, as opposed to a serialized format, to encourage binge-watching, that has been successful for other Netflix series. The series will be released in "roughly one-year intervals". Regarding this, Sarandos said, "Some [series] will roll in as early as eight months and others in 15 months apart, and basically what it is is we’re not trying to meet a fall programming schedule or trying to hit a grid number... [W]e want to give them enough room and enough time to make a great show, so I don’t want to set up a rigid timetable and deliver a show every eight months or every twelve months, but you should expect them about a year apart."
In June 2014, MCU films' producer Kevin Feige stated he believed the series would "fall under the umbrella of the Cinematic Universe" as the ABC series do, but felt the television division was making sure each series stands strong on their own like the films, before going back to add the "fun" connecting pieces. In August 2014, on whether any of the Netflix series could crossover with the Marvel Studios feature films, Netflix COO Ted Sarandos said, "It has definitely been talked about." In October 2014, Feige said the opportunity "certainly" exists for characters in the Netflix series to appear in Avengers: Infinity War.
In April 2015, head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, explained that "In the world of Marvel Comics, Jessica Jones, and Matt Murdock, and Danny Rand, and Luke Cage all had a previous existing relationship and all grew up on the same kind of stoop in New York. So it lent itself to a world. Does that mean these shows are going to be the same? No. They can't be. The characters have different issues, different problems, different feelings about them. While I don't think they'll be as varied, the example that I continually give is that I cannot think of two films that are more different in tone than The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy. And yet, if you watch them back to back, they feel very Marvel. They feel very much like, 'Oh, it is still the same universe that I'm in.'"
All 13 Netflix Daredevil episodes premiered on April 10, 2015.
Marvel's Daredevil, or simply Daredevil, is an American web television series created for Netflix by Drew Goddard, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the first in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, DeKnight Prods. and Goddard Textiles, with Steven S. DeKnight serving as showrunner, and Goddard acting as consultant.
Charlie Cox stars as Matt Murdock / Daredevil, a lawyer-by-day who fights crime at night. The series chronicles the character's early days fighting crime, juxtaposed with the rise of crime lord Wilson Fisk, played by Vincent D'Onofrio. Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Toby Leonard Moore, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, and Rosario Dawson also star. Daredevil entered development in late 2013, a year after the film rights to the character reverted to Marvel, with Goddard initially hired in December 2013. DeKnight replaced him as showrunner and Cox was hired to star in May 2014. Filming began in New York City that July, with production ending in December.
All episodes of the first season premiered on April 10, 2015. The series was released to critical acclaim, with critics praising the action sequences, performances and the darker tone compared to other properties of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.
Jessica Jones (2015)
All 13 Netflix Jessica Jones episodes premiered November 20, 2015.
Marvel's Jessica Jones, or simply Jessica Jones, is an American web television series created for Netflix by Melissa Rosenberg, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise, and is the second in a series of shows that will lead up to a Defenders crossover miniseries. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios and Tall Girls Productions, with Rosenberg serving as showrunner.
Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones, a former superhero who opens her own detective agency after an end to her superhero career. Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval, Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss, and David Tennant also star. A version of the series was originally in development by Rosenberg for ABC in 2010, that was eventually passed on. By late 2013, Rosenberg reworked the series, when it reentered development for Netflix as A.K.A. Jessica Jones. Ritter was cast as Jones in December 2014, with production on Jessica Jones beginning in New York City in February 2015 and lasting until late August. In December 2014, Mike Colter was cast as Luke Cage, a recurring role in the series before headlining his own series.
All episodes premiered November 20, 2015, on Netflix. The series has received positive critical reception, noting Ritter's and Tennant's performances as well as the series' noir tone, approach to sexuality and coverage of darker topics such as rape, assault and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Luke Cage (2016)
Marvel's Luke Cage, or simply Luke Cage, is an American web television series created for Netflix by Cheo Hodari Coker, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise and is the third in a series of shows that will lead up to The Defenders crossover miniseries. The series is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios, with Coker serving as showrunner.
Mike Colter stars as Luke Cage, a former convict with superhuman strength and unbreakable skin who now fights crime. Mahershala Ali, Simone Missick, Theo Rossi, Erik LaRay Harvey, Rosario Dawson, and Alfre Woodard also star in season one. Development of the series began in late 2013. In December 2014, Colter was cast as Cage, to appear first in Marvel's Jessica Jones, with Coker hired as the showrunner in March 2015. The series is filmed in New York City, looking to replicate the unique culture and atmosphere of Harlem.
All episodes of the first season premiered on September 30, 2016. They were met with positive reviews, with praise going to the cast, 1970s style, music, and approach to racial issues, while its structure and some of the writing was viewed as some of the series' shortcomings. In December 2016, Netflix renewed Luke Cage for a second season.
Marvel Cinematic Universe Tie-ins
Jessica Jones is the second of the ordered Netflix series, after Daredevil, and will be followed by Luke Cage, and Marvel's Iron Fist, before leading into the miniseries, Marvel's The Defenders. In November 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that, if the characters prove popular on Netflix, "It’s quite possible that they could become feature films," which Sarandos echoed in July 2015. In August 2014, Vincent D'Onofrio, who played Wilson Fisk in Daredevil, stated that after the "series stuff with Netflix", Marvel has "a bigger plan to branch out". In March 2015, Loeb spoke on the ability for the series to crossover with the MCU films and the ABC television series, saying, "It all exists in the same universe. As it is now, in the same way that our films started out as self-contained and then by the time we got to The Avengers, it became more practical for Captain America to do a little crossover into Thor 2 and for Bruce Banner to appear at the end of Iron Man 3. We have to earn that. The audience needs to understand who all of these characters are and what the world is before you then start co-mingling in terms of where it's going."
On specific crossovers with Daredevil, which had completed its first season by the time Jessica Jones began casting, Loeb said "they’re in the same area. In some cases they are in the same neighborhood. One of the things that is important to us is, when you enter the police station, it’s the same police station. When you go to the hospital, you start to see the same people. [But] we don’t want people suddenly going, "Wait, is that Matt Murdock that’s walking down the street?" Because that’s going to feel odd, and in a weird way feel false." On existing in the MCU, specifically in the same world as the other Netflix series, Rosenberg said, "Jessica Jones is a very, very different show than Daredevil. We exist in a cinematic universe, [and] the mythology of the universe is connected, but they look very different, tonally they’re very different… That was my one concern coming in: Am I going to have to fit into Daredevil or what’s come before? And the answer is no."
On references or "easter eggs" in the series, Rosenberg explained that "A little is always there and in the writer’s room we have some fanboys that know all this stuff and they’re all geeking out with different stuff.... a lot of references are to the [Alias comic]." She also said that nods to the larger MCU are in the series, with each episode having a "little something in it." Jeryn Hogarth is closely associated with Iron Fist in the comics, and also worked with Luke Cage as part of those characters' Heroes for Hire team. Like Daredevil, the series makes references to the events of The Avengers and the Avengers (specifically Hulk and Captain America, though not by name). Jessica also mentions Angela del Toro as another private investigator, who in the comics is the hero White Tiger and has connections with K'un-Lun and Iron Fist. Paul Tassi, writing for Forbes, was disappointed with how the series fit into the larger MCU, feeling the series seemed "so far removed from the world of The Avengers, it might as well not be in the same universe at all.... what’s even weirder is how Jessica Jones almost refuses to acknowledge Daredevil at all, despite the fact that it’s supposed to be sharing at least this little corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with it."