ByTom Bacon, writer at
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Tom Bacon

Excitement is building for Marvel's The Defenders, which will unite four incredible superheroes: Charlie Cox's Daredevil, Krysten Ritter's Jessica Jones, Mike Colter's Luke Cage, and Finn Jones's Iron Fist! EW recently got some exclusive set photos from the series — and they may have given away a lot more than you'd think at first glance!

One image, in particular, has set the internet ablaze — one shot of the team together, which holds serious clues about the plot and themes of The Defenders.

Matt Murdock, Not Daredevil

Matt Murdock in 'Daredevil'. [Credit: Netflix]
Matt Murdock in 'Daredevil'. [Credit: Netflix]

First of all, notice that Charlie Cox isn't suited up as . This becomes particularly interesting when you factor in that, in all the set photos that have leaked online, Cox has not once been seen in costume! That's even the case in images that have him interacting with other members of the Defenders.

While the other three Defenders act out in the open, not bothering with a secret identity, Matt Murdock is very different. Here's the thing, though; as Daredevil progresses, that secret identity is becoming ever more vulnerable. The Hand knows Daredevil's secret identity, for one, and Sigourney Weaver's villain , 'Alexandra', may well be a gender-bent version of a character who learned it as well. Most significantly, many fans believe that Daredevil Season 3 will be based on the famous, much-loved "Born Again" arc, in which the Kingpin learns Daredevil's secret identity.

It seems very likely that the Defenders will learn Matt Murdock's identity, and so will his enemies. It may well be Matt Murdock who teams up with the rest of the group, not Daredevil.

Public Enemies

'Jessica Jones' Season 1. [Credit: Netflix]
'Jessica Jones' Season 1. [Credit: Netflix]

A recurring theme in the is that the world isn't sure what to make of these superheroes, enhanced beings, and vigilantes. Daredevil Season 2 and Luke Cage are both set before the passing of the Sokovia Accords, which forced enhanced beings to register under the jurisdiction of the United Nations. But both showed a simmering tension building up in New York.

In Daredevil Season 2, we learned that New York is deeply disturbed by the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. Some embrace him as a hero, others fear him as a villain. Others still fear that he will inspire men like the Punisher to launch brutal campaigns against crime. Meanwhile, the end of saw the titular hero choose to break Kilgrave's neck, an act that has made her the center of real controversy. Finally, has become the most public enhanced being in New York, standing as the hero of Harlem. We don't know what will happen in , but it seems very likely that this arc will continue.

[Credit: Netflix]
[Credit: Netflix]

Now look again at this image: "Public Enemies" is crossed out. This, I think, symbolizes that the Defenders will face a public campaign against them — one that leaves New York opposing its superheroes and vigilantes. My instinct is that, as with Luke Cage, The Defenders will also be set before the passing of the Sokovia Accords.

A Hint at the Villain's Strategy

Now let's return to Sigourney Weaver's mysterious Alexandra, identified as the villain of The Defenders. We've known since SDCC that the Hand will play a major role in The Defenders, which made Weaver's role somewhat mysterious. Is it possible that this is a hint?

As we saw in Jessica Jones, many public figures are capitalizing on fear of vigilantes. Is it possible that Sigourney Weaver's character, Alexandra, is one such figure? Is she attempting to whip up fear of superhumans and vigilantes? This seems very likely; it fits perfectly with the sole image we've had of Alexandra, where she looks to be somewhat wealthy and influential, and is gazing out at the New York skyline.

In an earlier post, I've suggested that Weaver's character is most likely inspired by Alexander Bont, the first Kingpin of Hell's Kitchen who launched a brutal campaign against Matt Murdock. I've also suggested that she could be tied to the Hand as one of their Snakeroot, or ruling council, which has always included businessmen, politicians, and warlords. While these are all only theories, so far they all coincide effectively.

See also:

It's strange how a single image can hint at so much! In this one photograph, Marvel has teased what may well be a major plot arc in The Defenders — one that dovetails perfectly with the overarching narrative of Marvel's Netflix shows. What's more, given the shows are likely set before Captain America: Civil War, this arc ties in nicely to the overall direction of the MCU. If I'm right, it looks to be a smart call!


Do you think this IS a major arc in 'The Defenders'?

(Poll Image Credit: Netflix)


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