ByDavid Opie, writer at Creators.co
Deputy Editor: @DavidOpie. The day someone green-lights a Marvel Zombies Ghibli film directed by Xavier Dolan is the day I will be happy.
David Opie

While Marvel movies take joy in the spectacle of comic book filmmaking, depicting larger-than-life scenes set in Asgard, space and even the Quantum Realm, the studio's Netflix output is decidedly more realistic. Shows such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones still root the street-level exploits of their heroes in a fantasy world, but one that's more similar to our own.

Despite that though, our first glimpse of The Defenders assembled together contains one particular easter egg that reminds fans of the wider universe that the show is linked to.

That's right — while you were too busy staring at 's bulging biceps or 's open shirt, some eagle-eyed fans spotted a fleet number emblazoned on the back of the truck that The Defenders are perched on, one that holds huge significance for Marvel's comic book readers. Still can't see it? Turn your gaze towards the top of the poster, where you'll spot a small 3-digit number.

What Does The Number 616 Mean?

The Defenders [Credit: Netflix]
The Defenders [Credit: Netflix]

As long term fans know, Comics have explored a number of realities over the years, making it difficult for even the most hardcore readers to keep track of the different dimensions featured across decades of stories. Understandably then, some of the writers over at Marvel HQ eventually began to designate each world with a specific number, settling upon Earth-616 for the primary continuity that the heroes we know and love are based in.

While there's some contention regarding how this particular name was decided upon, it appears that Dave Thorpe, a writer working on the UK-published Captain Britain stories, was the first to choose the number '616'. Apparently, Thorpe wasn't a huge fan of the superhero genre, so in a dick move, he selected '616' because it's infamously known as a variant on 666, the Number of the Beast.

Luke Cage [Credit: Netflix]
Luke Cage [Credit: Netflix]

It might seem strange that a show renowned for taking a more realistic approach to Marvel's superhero fare would deliberately use this number, but then again, this wouldn't be the first time that The Defenders have alluded to the comics in their own individual shows.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, 's head honcho, Jeph Loeb, discussed where the idea for The Defenders show originally came from, citing its links to the at large as a key factor in its conception:

“Iron Man is falling out of the sky, and the Hulk is catching him, and my storytelling brain starts to think, ‘If you went over to 10th Avenue and down a few blocks, you’d be in Hell’s Kitchen where there’s a group of heroes who are not really interested in saving the universe. That’s a really interesting place to start a television series.”

We're just grateful that Loeb enjoys re-watching The Avengers on his downtime, or we might never have been given the gift of , Luke Cage or .

Jessica Jones [Credit: Netflix]
Jessica Jones [Credit: Netflix]

See also:

While it's unlikely that The Defenders will link overtly with the rest of the MCU at large, it's gratifying to know that the show runners still have fan service at the forefront of their minds. If Marvel are keen to include easter eggs this early on in the show's promotion, just imagine how many more subtle nods to the comics will be featured in the final show. Personally, I'm holding out for a cameo appearance from characters who live on Earth-2149 (the Marvel Zombies universe), but that's just because I don't know what's good for me.

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(Source — Entertainment Weekly)

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