Your Guide to The Defenders: Everything You Need to Know About Netflix's Marvel Heroes

Get the scoop on Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Daredevil and Iron Fist

By Chris Harnick Aug 17, 2017 12:30 PMTags
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So, you want to watch The Defenders, but don't have time to watch five seasons of TV? Or you watched five seasons of TV and don't remember what the heck happened on seasons one and two of Daredevil and the first seasons of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist? We're here for you.

Marvel's The Defenders, the team-up series of Netflix's superheroes starring Charlie Cox (Daredevil), Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Finn Jones (Iron Fist), Sigourney Weaver and a whole host of supporting players from the various shows drops on Friday, Aug. 18.

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"The four of us are on a path to the same place." Cox said. "It's clear to them the only chance they have of saving New York is going to be if they work together."

Here's your crash course in all things Defenders!

Daredevil ( Season 1)

This is the only Marvel show on Netflix with two seasons already under its belt. Daredevil season one charted Matt Murdock's beginnings as the devil of Hell's Kitchen, revealed his connection to Stick (Scott Glenn) and set up his law practice with Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson). Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), the firm's first client, would go on to work with them. It was in the first season where viewers first met Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple, a nurse, who would go on to appear in all of Marvel's Netflix shows. Season one's main antagonist was Wilson Fisk (Vincent D'Onofrio), otherwise known as the Kingpin, whose corrupt control over the city Daredevil sought to overthrow. He was sort of successful in the end.

Jessica Jones (Season 1)

The first season of Jessica Jones tackled her PTSD and previous entanglement with Kilgrave (David Tennant). Viewers got the origin stories of Jessica, Kilgrave and Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor)—aka Hellcat in the comics—and watched as Jessica developed a relationship with Luke Cage. Things didn't end well between the pair and after a mind controlled fight ended with Jessica blasting Luke in the head with a shotgun, he hightailed it out of Hell's Kitchen. Jessica confronted Kilgrave one last time, now impervious to his mind control powers, and defeated him with a smile. Filming on season two of Jessica Jones is happening now and Tennant is back…somehow.

"Jessica's never wanted to be involved. She doesn't want to save the city. She doesn't care," Ritter said.

Daredevil (Season 2)

Enter Elektra! Elodie Yung plays the deadly assassin/former girlfriend of Matt Murdock, but she wasn't the only problem on Daredevil's hands. Jon Bernthal also joined the cast as Frank Castle, The Punisher. Daredevil and The Punisher clashed, many times, as well as Daredevil and the many gangs trying to take advantage of the power vacuum left by Kingpin's incarceration. And then the Hand (ninjas) got involved on the fun (fighting). Eventually, Punisher and Daredevil find themselves on the same side—and Punisher's origin story is revealed—and Elektra sacrifices herself to save Daredevil. But she's living in The Defenders? Duh, she's been brought back to life by the Hand and is now their weapon! Comic book TV shows, yo.

"At the end of the second season of Daredevil, Matt is kind of lost. He's given up being this superhero, but deep down he genuinely believes the city is better off with him," Cox said.

Luke Cage (Season 1)

After the destruction of his bar and his fight with Jessica, Luke Cage returned home to Harlem to work at a local barbershop. Trouble wasn't far behind, and he clashed with Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes (Mahershala Ali) and then Cottomouth's cousin Mariah Stokes (Alfre Woodard), eventually having a final battle with Diamondback (Erik LaRay Harvey), who is revealed to be his half-brother. While all the political scheming and black market deals are happening, Misty Knight (Simone Missick)  crossed paths with Luke Cage and uncovered the Harlem corruption. Sadly, she's without a bionic arm…as of now. In between beating people up and getting shot at, Luke developed a relationship with Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson) and revealed his backstory, specifically how he got his powers. The season ended with Luke going back to prison, but as you can see, he's out.

"Cage is out of prison and he's just trying to figure out what to do with his life," Colter said.

Iron Fist (Season 1)

The most recent solo outing in Netflix's Marvel heroes franchise, Iron Fist featured Danny Rand returning to New York City after being presumed dead. With the power of the Iron Fist, Danny sought to reclaim his family's company—and battle ninjas and such. After defeating Harold Meachum and teaming up with Colleen Wing (Jessica Henwick)—a local dojo owner superior to Danny in every way—to take on the Hand, Danny traveled with Colleen to K'un-Lun, the mystical city where he got his glowing hand, only to find slain Hand assassins at the gates and the city missing. Oh, and his former allies Joy Meachum and Davos were last seen making plans to kill him as The Hand operative Madame Gao listened on.

The Defenders

What brings these heroes together? The coming destruction of New York City, brought on by Sigourney Weaver's mysterious Alexandra, the head of an ancient organization.

"The very existence of New York is at stake," Jones said. "Seeing all four of these characters together is epic."

The Defenders drops Friday, Aug. 18 on Netflix.