The Defenders: everything you need to know about Marvel’s latest superhero crew

Unlikely alliance of superhumans premieres on Netflix in August. Here’s a rundown of the team of New Yorkers and their skills and weaknesses

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 July, 2017, 7:00pm

Move over, Avengers: a new team of scrappy, street-smart superheroes is moving into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In August, Netflix will unveil Marvel’s The Defenders, the mini-series it’s been building towards for three years.

Not familiar with the new good-guy gang? Don’t fret. The Defenders aren’t as easily recognisable as the heavily marketed band of “Earth’s mightiest heroes”, but with an impressive roster of Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones), and a ravenous audience, The Defenders certainly has its fair share of buzz.

The first Defenders debuted in a 1971 comic and featured Dr Strange, the Hulk, Namor and – ultimately – the Silver Surfer. From there, the group would reassemble with new faces and characters whenever there was cosmic danger (or a need to sell a superhero crossover comic). Now, the new Defenders include all of Marvel’s Netflix heroes in one fairly reluctant team.

Unlike the aforementioned Avengers, who are often steered by Captain America, these superheroes are a group of no-nonsense New Yorkers.

“There’s no official hierarchy. All that’s yet to be set,” co-executive producer Marco Ramirez says. “We get to lean into the messiness, and the haste, of these four all thrown together dealing and working with each other.”

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With no team leader in sight, the foursome will have to begrudgingly work together to defeat the mysterious new baddie Alexandra (played by Sigourney Weaver).

Ramirez was reluctant to reveal anything about Weaver’s character, but he did confirm plenty of action for the new villain and recalled a day on set when Weaver shared her thoughts on her fighting style.

“[Weaver] said, ‘I’ve never been a martial arts kind of gal, I’m more of a hold-the-flamethrower kind of gal’,” Ramirez recalls.

“I’d love to tattoo that interaction onto my forehead. She was really willing to do things, to get dirty. It was wonderful.”

The fight choreography was important to Ramirez, since the action scenes help define each character during the middle of what has the potential to be a pretty intense – and confusing – brawl.

Working with stunt coordinator Matt Mullins, the executive producer broke down each style from the writers’ point of view.

Daredevil, the trained boxer of the group, wants every punch to be the last. Luke Cage plays defence — “He’s the guy who will cover a child, he will use his body defensively,” says Ramirez.

Jessica Jones wants the fight to be over, takes no joy in it and detests every part of the act, even the build-up. “That, as an attitude, is so much fun to watch once she’s fighting.”

And, finally, the Iron Fist: “Danny Rand is kind of hot-headed, a little more naive than the others. He’s very eager and gets himself into fights and bites off more than he can chew.”

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Fighting styles aren’t the only things The Defenders will be borrowing from past Netflix shows. The mash-up mini-series allows Ramirez to cherry-pick some of his favourite elements: pulling inspiration from the hugely popular Luke Cage soundtrack or referencing the noir feel of Jessica Jones.

But his biggest joy was just watching the four personalities interact.

“Text messaging back and forth with Krysten Ritter, crafting cool one-liner moments for JJ, was one of the highlights of the show,” Ramirez says.

[Sigourney Weaver] said, ‘I’ve never been a martial arts kind of gal, I’m more of a hold-the-flamethrower kind of gal’
Marco Ramirez

“It was as exciting as doing the big fight scenes. ‘How will JJ make fun of everyone else in the room?’ was a primary focus at all times.

“In some ways, she gets to be our Han Solo, the regular grounded person’s way into this world. I think one of the great joys of the show is watching them interact.”

So do you need to know everything that happened in the last episode of Luke Cage or during the sixth episode of the second season of Daredevil to enjoy Defenders?

Ramirez says no; he was tasked by both Marvel and Netflix with crafting a story that anyone could drop into.