So, I don't know if everyone has been keeping up with what's happening on the Netflix side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the moment, but it's pretty exciting.
Daredevil premiered to fantastic reviews at the end of last year, and it's only expanded outwards from there. Jessica Jones is set to have an all-episode Netflix release sometime in the coming months, followed up by Luke Cage (which is currently in production) and Iron Fist (which will begin production once Luke Cage wraps). Once all the individual series have aired The Defenders will undergo production, wrapping them all up together.
The MCU feature length films were so well received because of the long base they've laid out for the characters: introducing the primaries in their own movies and crossing into each others, allowing us to get a taste for who they are then bringing them all together to form the Avengers whilst still having space for their own stories to play out around this team dynamic.
And whilst the Avengers action is taking place on the grand scale: up in the sky and in other realms, down on the streets of New York the Defenders are forming.
Who Are The Defenders?
Well, in the comics the Defenders, like the Avengers, have a fairly high turn over of members; the two most solid being the Hulk and Doctor Strange. However these two are currently wrapped up in the MCU, so we're probably not going to see them appearing in the Netflix series (boo).
Our MCU Defenders will be comprised of those mentioned above: Daredevil (Matt Murdock), Jessica Jones (formerly Jewel), Luke Cage (Power Man) and Iron Fist (Danny Rand). We've already been introduced to Daredevil in his titular series, but what about the other three?
Jessica Jones gained her superpowers when her family died in a car crash involving radioactive chemicals, which gave her super strength and the ability to fly. It also made her almost invulnerable. She became the superhero Jewel for a short lived career, but was placed under mind control by super-villain Zebediah Killgrave (Purple Man) who tortured her psychologically, forced her to assist in his crimes and tried to make her kill Daredevil. The whole thing gets really dark really quickly, and leaves Jessica psychologically scarred in the aftermath.
She was freed from the mind control eight months later by X-Men member Jean Grey (Phoenix), but the violating events that occurred when she was under Killgrave's control demoralised her and she quit being a superhero to open a detective agency instead. However Killgrave, who became dangerously obsessed with her, continued to come after her to attempt to bend her to his will again.
This is where we find our MCU Jessica Jones: retired as a superhero, suffering from PTSD and just opened her detective agency specialising in cases involving super or meta humans.
"Jessica is about paying rent and getting the next client. She’s dealing with a fairly dark past. She’s trying to get through the day. She’s not really trying to save the city. She’s trying to save her apartment." - Ritter
Krysten Ritter will play Jessica, with David Tennant portraying the creepy-ass Killgrave. Mike Colter will also appear in the series as Jessica's long-time love interest and eventual husband: Luke Cage.
Out of all the Netflix characters Luke Cage (also known as Power Man) is the most prevalent member in the comics version of the Defenders.
Hailing from Harlem, Luke is involved in gangs and organised crime in his youth and ends up in prison after being framed for heroin possession. Whilst incarnated he's recruited for experimental cell regeneration based on a super-soldier process, but the machine is sabotaged and his treatment accelerates to the point that he gains superhuman strength and near invulnerability. He escapes prison after gaining his powers and makes a career for himself as a Hero for Hire.
We find our MCU Luke Cage portrayed by Mike Colter. fighting crime on the streets of Hell's Kitchen, where he's sure to run into Daredevil sooner or later, not to mention long-time partner Iron Fist and future wife Jessica Jones.
Additionally, Rosario Dawson will appear again as Claire Temple (Night Nurse) in the series. Marvel's Luke Cage is set to be released at an unspecified time in 2016.
Iron Fist, Daniel Rand, is the son of a wealthy entrepreneur and socialite. His parents died in front of him on a climbing expedition when he was nine, and he was taken in by Lei Kung, a martial artist in the mysterious lost city of K'un L'un, who trains him.
When he was nineteen Daniel killed the dragon Shou-Lao the Undying, the battle leaving him with a dragon tattoo burned into his chest. He then gained the power of the legendary Iron Fist by punching his hands into the molten heart of the dragon. He leaves K'un L'un to seek vengeance for his parents deaths, caused on the expedition by his father's business partner Harold Meachum. He ends up sparing Meachum's life but he's killed regardless, for which Iron Fist gets the blame. He eventually clears his name and becomes a superhero closely allied with Luke Cage as part of Heroes for Hire.
We don't know very much about the MCU's Iron Fist, with no cast or further plot details been confirmed as of yet, but he'll certainly be involved with both Luke Cage and Jessica Jones before the Defenders get underway.