Beware of spoilers for the first episode of “The Defenders” below!
Netflix’s newest foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is “The Defenders,” which features heroes Jessica Jones (Kristyn Ritter), Matt Murdoch/Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand/Iron Fist (Finn Jones), teaming up to fight the evil crime organization known as The Hand.
But the four heroes — who each have their own show on Netflix — don’t meet up until well in to episode two of the first season. Director and executive producer S.J. Clarkson said this was a purposeful move. Clarkson directed the first two episodes, and said that at first she was disappointed she wouldn’t get a lot of time with all four Defenders.
“But when I knew what was going in to the rest of the season, and I sat in the writer’s room… and saw how it was going to play out, I actually thought it was really exciting that you hold that back,” she told TheWrap in a phone interview. “The intrigue for the people that know–for the people that know these characters, I think the intrigue of them waiting to meet is fantastic.”
Clarkson also said that the payoff is greater for fans who might not have seen every individual show. “My hope is that people who haven’t seen any of the shows might tune in and watch “The Defenders,” and enjoy it in its own right. Well, I actually think there’s no rush for those people because they don’t know them,” Clarkson told TheWrap.
“So you want time to sort of reintroduce the characters and sort of spend time with them, to really understand who they are, understand where they’re at, so when they do finally meet I think the payoff is greater cause you’ve had time to sit with them and settle in where they are.”
“I wanted it to feel like is when you watch it you were being introduced to these characters for the first time but equally, if you were familiar with them, you were sitting back down with an old friend,” she said.
The Defenders spend the first two episodes barely missing one another, or encountering each other without fully realizing who they are. Danny and Colleen (Jessica Henwick) show up at the same time as Luke to a “clean-up” project sponsored by The Hand. Later, Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) puts them both in the same room with the hope that they’ll realize they’re on the same side.
Meanwhile, Jessica gets caught up in a case that the FBI want her to ignore. Matt, who has been doing pro bono work, lets Foggy (Eldon Henson) — who is working for Hogarth, Chao And Benowitz — give him some cases. He ends up as Jessica’s lawyer when she’s taken in to police custody.
There are a ton of little details connecting the four worlds than fans will spot — Claire, obviously, is a huge one, but police detective Misty Knight (Simone Missick) from “Luke Cage” is also the policewoman who brings in Jessica. You’ll see other characters from the individual shows, too — including Madame Gao (Wai Ching Ho), Stick (Scott Glenn) and Elektra (Elodie Yung).
The four heroes all learn various details about The Hand’s latest scheme individually, all ending up at the same place to confront villain Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver) at the same time. From there, The Defenders is born, if not reluctantly.
“The Defenders” is out on Netflix August 18.