The Defenders Netflix series is releasing more and more promotional material these days, including a behind-the-scenes look at the production that includes interviews with the main cast members. It’s not surprising they’re doing the full-court press in their promotional efforts, since not everyone has watched all of the The Defenders characters’ individual series. In fact, the Iron Fist Netflix series isn’t even out yet.
As reported by CBS News, The Defenders – both in the comics and in the upcoming Netflix series – are a team of superheroes who help protect New York. On Netflix, they’re low-budget, small screen Avengers. These Defenders are being drawn from the various Marvel series’ that have already been – or are about to be – broadcast on the streaming service. In the comics, their roster has included heavy hitters from the Hulk to Doctor Strange.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) January 12, 2017
The following character descriptions for the members of The Defenders team is largely based on the characters as presented on Netflix. This is an important distinction, since the characters as realized on Netflix aren’t entirely identical to the versions in the comic books.
‘The Defenders’ Netflix Daredevil
Daredevil stars British actor Charlie Cox as the titular character Matt Murdoch/Daredevil, who is one of the few disabled superheroes in either the Marvel or DC Comics pantheons. Blind since he was a small child, this character has – for reasons that vary sometimes in the comics – developed his other senses to an extraordinary degree – approaching something almost supernatural.
Despite being blind, he can sense where people are, movements, distant sounds, and even heart rates. All of this is what allows him to fight bad guys. He’s also a highly-trained martial artist who’s taken on adversaries ranging from Wilson Fisk – aka the Kingpin – to the Punisher. As an aside, the Punisher was so popular last season that he’s getting his own separate Netflix series later this year.
‘The Defenders’ Netflix Jessica Jones
The character of Jessica Jones – both in her Netflix series and in the comic books – is a highly-damaged individual who is also an antisocial alcoholic. As a former superhero, she might be the most experienced member of The Defenders team.
Jessica Jones has superhuman strength and a certain degree of invulnerability. While she previously used these abilities as a standard superhero, her encounter with the mind controlling villain The Purple Man in the series – in which he essentially made her into his sexual slave – drove her away from her superhero persona and into becoming a private detective.
Even after defeating and killing The Purple Man – as played by David Tennant – in her last outing, it’s very likely that Jessica Jones is essentially going to be the same reclusive, bad tempered alcoholic when she joins up with The Defenders.
‘The Defenders’ Netflix Luke Cage
Luke Cage was one of the earliest African-American superheroes in either Marvel or DC comics. During the ’70s when he was created, he was very much a blaxploitation stereotype. In the Netflix Luke Cage series, he’s much more of a real person – despite having super strength and almost absolute invulnerability.
Like most comic book characters, Luke Cage has to have a pivotal moment in his life that defines who he is. In his case, it was the death of his wife. Unbeknownst to him, initially, his wife was killed by Jessica Jones while she was under the control of The Purple Man. Given that he only learned this after he slept with Jessica Jones, this made things a bit awkward.
Most recently in his own series, he helped take down some major gangs in his neighborhood, apparently choosing to take up the mantle of protector by the end of the series, despite the fact that all he really wanted was a normal life.
‘The Defenders’ Netflix Iron Fist
We have the least information about Iron Fist as he’ll be presented on Netflix in his yet-to-air series, and in The Defenders. In the Netflix series – as well as in the comics – Iron Fist’s real name is Danny Rand. After being gone from New York for some 15 years, billionaire Rand returns to take control of his family business. Rand had gone off to become a Buddhist monk, where he learned not only ordinary martial arts, but mystical martial arts – including something known as the “Iron Fist.”
For many people, Danny Rand represents the kind of whitewashing “white savior” character that critics of Hollywood have been hammering recently. An example of this would be casting Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One in Doctor Strange, or Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell.
The producers say they are attempting to make Danny Rand into a character who is not a “white savior” of others, but someone who is attempting to save himself. Whether this will quiet the critics is an open question. We’ll know once we’ve seen the Iron Fist and The Defenders Netflix series.
[Featured Image by Netflix]