9 Things We Can Expect from Marvel’s The Defenders

Showrunners Marco Ramirez and Douglas Petrie discuss their plans to handle the characters, plotting, and action in Netflix's upcoming hero team-up.

by | October 5, 2016 | Comments

Marvel made movie history when they launched four separate superhero movie franchises and successfully combined them in The Avengers. Now, in collaboration with Netflix, they’ve laid the groundwork to do the same on television. In 2017, the titular heroes of Marvel’s Netflix shows Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist will unite to form The Defenders. Luke Cage just premiered last week to rave reviews, and Iron Fist will drop on Netflix sometime in early 2017 before The Defenders.

This summer, RT spoke with writer-producers Marco Ramirez and Douglas Petrie at the Television Critics Association; you may already be familiar with their work from the second season of Daredevil on Netflix earlier this year, but they’re also now in charge of The Defenders. Ramirez and Petrie told us nine things we can look forward to in the hotly anticipated mashup series next year.

Daredevil Was Good Practice

Season two of Daredevil introduced Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal), aka the Punisher, and Elektra (Elodie Yung). Balancing those two characters with Daredevil was good practice for the writers, who will have to balance four heroes in The Defenders.

“In some ways, I think that, because in Daredevil season two, we were lucky enough to be able to introduce two new characters and watch how they interacted, we went through kind of the creative process,” Ramirez said. “What does it mean now when Frank is in the world? And what does it mean when Frank and Matt are in a scene together? And what does it mean when Elektra and Matt are in scenes together? What do I want to see Matt and Frank do for example? The rooftop episode worked for that. What do we most want to see?”

The Defenders Won’t Get Along At First

You saw what happened when Captain America met Iron Man, and when Thor met the Hulk. Eventually they worked together, but at first their egos conflicted. It was great fun for the audience, but not so much for the people who needed saving. Ramirez said we can expect the same sort of conflict when Jessica Jones meets Matt Murdock, et al. 

“Planning this show has kind of been a lot like planning a dinner party in that we want to seat people next to each other that’ll get along tonally, but at the same time, at first you think we don’t want to seat people next to each other who would fight,” Ramirez said. “Weirdly, we absolutely want to sit people next to each other where there’ll be conflict because we’re storytellers. That’s what comic books and drama are. I can safely say — we’ve got about half the season plotted — I can safely say that everybody interacts at some point in a really satisfying way.”

Petrie added, “They’ll never be fully functional. They’re not the Avengers, although the Avengers certainly fight amongst themselves as well. That’s the fun there, too. So they’ll never really be one big happy, but they will work together and they will kick ass.”

They’ll Still Have Day Jobs

Matt Murdock is a lawyer. Jessica Jones is a private detective. Luke Cage works in a barber shop. The Defenders won’t require anyone to quit their day jobs.

“When you meet each of these characters, basically we’re going to be picking them up not literally where you last saw them but emotionally, they will still be the characters you knew and loved from the shows that they were on,” Ramirez said. “Then we get in some trouble. We tried very much to stay true to who every one of those characters are. Also because I don’t think the audience wants to see great departures from any of the stories they’ve been involved in in who they are.”

One Of These Defenders Is Not Like The Others


A big difference between the Netflix shows and the Marvel movies is that Netflix features street-level heroes. They have enhanced powers, but no one is flying in mechanical suits or arriving from foreign planets with godlike powers. Well, until we meet Iron Fist, that is.

“We’ve got four mythologies,” Petrie began. “So there’s crime, crime, crime, and mysticism. We did allow some mysticism in it as well. We’ll be taking all four worlds and honoring all four worlds, and that’s going to be really, really fun, I think, for the fans, because it’s still going to be a crime show, but it also has heightened elements.”

Drama Is The Set Piece

The Avengers movies can sic aliens on New York or levitate cities into the air, but don’t expect to see that on The Defenders. The set pieces of The Defenders will be when the characters butt heads.

“I think the fun is going to be watching these four great actors have scenes together,” Petrie said. “As much as the action is going to be a big, big selling point, I think what we really want to see is these smart, wounded New York warriors in a room together.”

Ramirez added, “That doesn’t always mean physical altercations or big bads or ticking time bombs or anything like that. Sometimes it’s smaller, and it can be more mature. If a show like Jessica Jones has proven anything, it’s that people really showed up for it. The audiences really loved it and ate it up.”

It’s Like The Wire With Superheroes

Ramriez was very clear that he’s not actually comparing his show to the classic HBO drama The Wire. However, in format, there is a similarity between the Baltimore cop drama and the way The Defenders has brought four separate shows together for one series.

“The only thing I can think of are storylines on a show like — and I hope I’m not getting too highfalutin here — but on a show like The Wire, where you watch a character appear in multiple storylines,” Ramirez said. “You’re like, ‘Oh, now you’re here. Oh, this is interesting.’ Yeah, I think saying it’s a TV version of The Avengers is probably a little misleading. It’s a very character-driven story about four people with their own agendas and their own abilities. They all come together and it’s a very New York story.”

The Action Has Four Styles


Of course, there will be scenes where the Defenders fight bad guys. The complicated problem Petrie and Ramirez have there is that each of the four characters have their own style. Iron Fist is a martial artist, Daredevil is fighting in a full body suit, and Jessica and Luke are brawlers.

“It’s four different tones,” Ramirez said. “They’re four different shows. They’re four different styles of fighting. Even cinematically, the four shows are so different. You’ve seen Luke. The very French Connection vibe of Daredevil is very different from the kind of noir detective stories on JJ [Jessica Jones], is very different from the kind of classic Harlem crime story that is Luke. Just by default, the action sequences or any of the cinematic choices that get made kind of need to incorporate all those elements but still feel organic and their own thing.”

The Villain Has to Be Big Enough For Four

All four separate shows have their own memorable villains. Who could forget David Tennant as Kilgrave on Jessica Jones or Vincent D’Onofrio as Kingpin on Daredevil? So The Defenders not only has to feature a villain just as impressive, but one who justifies the need for four heroes to fight him.

“That’s part of the challenge, right?” Ramirez said. “Each of them has been powerful enough to take down someone incredibly powerful in all their own shows. The question now feels like, if there’s four of them, they need to deal with something that’s going to feel like it actually really is an imposing threat.”

Perhaps it will take more than one villain to unite the Defenders. “I think that no one person would be enough to take on all four Defenders, but we will have some pretty unique tricks up our sleeve,” Petrie said.

It’s Still A New York Story

Unlike the Avengers, who travel the world on their individual and collective adventures, the Defenders are all characters based in New York. So when they come together, it will be as four New Yorkers.

“I think every season of every show has a new look to New York,” Petrie said. “I think we want to play into the kind of grandeur of New York, the scale, the scope, the size of it. It feels great to still be in New York. It feels great to still be in the world of Matt Murdock but to expand out.”

Tag Cloud

Travel Channel Marvel Television latino The Walking Dead golden globe awards boxing Disney Plus television 21st Century Fox Fantasy Comic-Con@Home 2021 45 Ellie Kemper Trophy Talk Image Comics 2019 SXSW Black Mirror Nickelodeon Cannes godzilla dc Shondaland Martial Arts 71st Emmy Awards Avengers Kids & Family asian-american spinoff natural history Black History Month docuseries X-Men worst indiana jones 90s police drama zero dark thirty series DirecTV true crime archives batman movie stoner docudrama Trailer MTV Certified Fresh japan TCA Winter 2020 spanish IFC Films VICE Crackle Chernobyl james bond Comics on TV GLAAD Masterpiece lord of the rings live action book adaptation BET Awards witnail FXX Amazon Studios Oscars Apple TV Plus breaking bad spain YouTube Red spanish language quibi renewed TV shows legend Columbia Pictures Film Sony Pictures football biopic sag awards 2021 ghosts news Sneak Peek Action target Starz comic books space Video Games 72 Emmy Awards independent Music jurassic park Christmas hist toy story politics CW Seed french basketball Western Television Critics Association Lionsgate serial killer cancelled Film Festival blockbusters rotten stop motion PaleyFest Trivia social media revenge dramedy Marathons harry potter Hear Us Out TV Land Toys new zealand anime American Society of Cinematographers twilight wonder woman Infographic Super Bowl dragons japanese ratings cartoon robots National Geographic Arrowverse 2020 TV movies Awards Tour Exclusive Video Character Guide GoT The Purge Crunchyroll comic mockumentary Awards crossover Winter TV Cartoon Network OneApp cinemax Dark Horse Comics Ghostbusters Walt Disney Pictures documentary Emmys video on demand cops award winner royal family blockbuster TIFF streaming casting young adult disaster Mary Tyler Moore cancelled TV shows Sundance Now Paramount Network superhero documentaries 007 political drama Disney Channel australia Red Carpet Holiday movies Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pixar NYCC deadpool Bravo comedies Holidays comiccon rt archives dexter fast and furious foreign Emmy Nominations Spectrum Originals President Syfy transformers Logo rom-coms directors Podcast doctor who Turner Classic Movies Writers Guild of America Ovation Amazon Prime First Reviews Disney HBO Comic Book streaming movies Peacock pirates of the caribbean Polls and Games Freeform italian Netflix Christmas movies Marvel Studios kong sitcom Britbox superman Netflix nbcuniversal El Rey razzies halloween RT21 Hallmark Christmas movies emmy awards worst movies kids 4/20 Pride Month Warner Bros. 73rd Emmy Awards nature SDCC medical drama Countdown Box Office Epix Fall TV YA justice league BET Opinion Mary Poppins Returns child's play laika Women's History Month CBS All Access VH1 zombie werewolf cats new york dark Election YouTube Premium slashers Song of Ice and Fire PlayStation psycho Mindy Kaling crime criterion what to watch canceled TV shows ITV Schedule Turner Showtime rt labs A24 Apple TV renewals Star Wars DC streaming service Comedy trailers gangster Captain marvel CBS Tomatazos sports The Witch elevated horror Broadway rt labs critics edition Mystery venice 2018 parents ABC Signature BBC TV binge 24 frames based on movie ID Apple TV+ 2017 romantic comedy a nightmare on elm street Television Academy Paramount APB TCA Awards USA Network ABC Pet Sematary prank Reality Competition Food Network Spring TV GIFs adenture aapi dogs remakes TBS History marvel cinematic universe Rocketman MSNBC Rocky LGBTQ BBC One The CW zombies book miniseries action-comedy scary movies comic book movie NBA indie Heroines king kong Drama Universal Sci-Fi Rock children's TV TCA telelvision SundanceTV 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards singing competition Superheroe slasher Marvel black rotten movies we love mission: impossible ESPN Creative Arts Emmys Nominations romance Sundance talk show Extras saw christmas movies period drama Winners tv talk Binge Guide Hulu monster movies USA Cosplay diversity Pop Tumblr spy thriller franchise Pirates mutant First Look 99% all-time thriller Wes Anderson war Lucasfilm teaser AMC OWN travel Reality game show Lifetime comic book movies composers TLC DC Comics Discovery Channel Thanksgiving Classic Film CMT facebook debate DGA TV One concert HBO Go free movies sequels hollywood mcc Esquire game of thrones Premiere Dates Valentine's Day 2015 Nat Geo know your critic RT History new star wars movies festival crime thriller The Arrangement A&E Quiz reboot ABC Family blaxploitation New York Comic Con Pop TV adventure suspense discovery Summer anthology Disney+ Disney Plus Biopics Shudder Spike cooking psychological thriller science fiction hispanic heritage month VOD cancelled television 20th Century Fox Alien The Academy fresh supernatural jamie lee curtis Star Trek TruTV Best and Worst Paramount Plus Funimation dceu Tubi Calendar Family HBO Max 1990s joker Tarantino Tokyo Olympics animated Teen comics Country name the review versus toronto cults die hard MCU Year in Review adaptation hispanic boxoffice Sundance TV marvel comics posters 93rd Oscars San Diego Comic-Con BAFTA LGBT stand-up comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt TNT The Walt Disney Company Mudbound Anna Paquin Watching Series scene in color E3 biography Musical olympics Fox Searchlight WGN classics Musicals Lifetime Christmas movies high school WarnerMedia See It Skip It Fox News king arthur cancelled TV series women kaiju spider-man hidden camera vampires Hallmark NBC festivals critic resources E! YouTube historical drama Disney streaming service crime drama Pacific Islander Set visit Adult Swim universal monsters popular sequel canceled aliens south america Grammys Superheroes Stephen King Photos Endgame technology feel good critics theme song screen actors guild international screenings 2016 IFC Mary poppins FX green book FOX Amazon unscripted Baby Yoda richard e. Grant Horror FX on Hulu DC Universe Legendary reviews video Academy Awards Acorn TV Rom-Com heist movie Elton John best strong female leads CNN Comedy Central Interview TCA 2017 Brie Larson TCM Vudu golden globes PBS Animation scorecard nfl cars films Amazon Prime Video satire halloween tv chucky BBC America ViacomCBS obituary finale