This article contains spoilers for 'Jessica Jones' and 'Daredevil' Season 1.
The Avengers are Earth's protective heroes, but when Captain America joins forces with Black Widow, Iron Man and Thor, it can feel a little forced. These people are opposing personality types who generally have different methods of dealing with threats, as we'll see when Captain and Tony face off in next year's [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409).
In the small, square area of Manhattan known as Hell's Kitchen, another group of heroes is slowly assembling: Marvel's Defenders. Not that you'd know it yet...
While the Avengers are all about protecting Earth, anybody who's been watching Daredevil or Jessica Jones knows that these two heroes are more concerned with what's going on in their immediate neighborhood. (In fact, Jessica is not a hero at all, but more on that later.)
As it happens, the threat to Hell's Kitchen is pretty big for such a small part of the city. In Season 1, Matt Murdock grappled with the Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio), and Season 2 will introduce further foes in the form of Elektra and Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher.
And as a result of that threat, the chances of Murdock being able to fend off all the villainy alone seems slim – which is why Marvel will look to establish a proper connection between Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage in Season 2.
These are the stories, characters and threats which could give rise to the assembly of the Defenders in Hell's Kitchen...
1. Nuke (and the Mysterious Dr. Koslov)
Marvel fans who've read the Daredevil comics will recognize Will Simpson, the NYPD officer who becomes involved with Jessica Jones, as Nuke, a soldier with some form of PTSD. Nuke first appears in Daredevil #232 (1986) as a subject of Weapon Plus, the super-soldier program which also created Captain America.
The hospital scene during the latter half of Jessica Jones Season 1, when Will receives a visit from the mysterious Dr. Koslov (the hospital can't find him in their register) is a direct lift from the comics...
As the season drew to a close, we began to see that, whether by nature or design, Simpson wasn't necessarily the good guy he first appeared to be, and his story is not resolved – he's out there, presumably in the not-so-safe hands of Koslov and his mysterious red, white, and blue pills.
Relive his epic fight scene with Trish and Jessica below...
Simpson represents a major threat to Jessica, but if there's somebody who might be able to use their medical knowledge to dig deeper into the mystery of the program responsible for Simpson's split personality, it's surely Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson). She's already had a crazy first encounter with Jessica, which could lead JJ and Trish to her door in Daredevil Season 2.
Of course, there's a strong chance that Simpson (or rather, Dr. Koslov) could be held back as the main antagonist of Jessica's second season – but then again, Marvel is going to bring their Defends together sooner rather than later, and Simpson/Koslov represent a brilliant opportunity to do exactly that.
2. Luke Cage and Claire...
Another piece of history from the comics: Luke Cage and Claire Temple actually dated for a while, but in the season finale of Jessica Jones when Claire oversees his recovery, it's apparent that this is their first encounter.
But that's not to say that Netflix's Marvel Universe isn't going to incorporate what happened in the comics in a kind of reverse chronology – or in other words, there's still plenty of time to sow those seeds of attraction and incorporate Luke into Matt Murdock's world.
It actually makes a lot of sense when you consider that the likelihood of him being happy with Jessica, after what she did to Reva, is pretty minimal.
On top of that, we know that Luke likes to keep a low profile, so he's probably more likely to get work as a barman than don a cape any time soon – and what bars do we know in Hell's Kitchen, besides Luke's joint (now nothing but ash)? Yup, Josie's Bar, a.k.a. Matt Murdock's favored drinking spot.
3. The Frank Castle Problem
Much has been made of Daredevil Season 2's big bad, the fearsome Frank Castle. Here's what Rosario Dawson had to say about the Punisher's impact next time around...
"That’s going to raise the stakes so much more, because Matt Murdock almost behaves like the Punisher in the first season. [Matt] crosses the line quite often, so it’s going to be really interesting to see how they differentiate them and where that goes."
The dynamic sounds interesting, not least because the similarities in their methods might allow Castle to get inside Murdock's head, much like the way Jessica eventually found a way into Kilgrave's head – and when Matt needs a little help in dealing with his new enemy, who better to call than Jessica?
We already saw her take his card, and a further easter egg was dropped when Claire told Jessica she should get in touch with Murdock. Jessica may not want to play the superhero, but she doesn't have those skills for nothing. There's zero doubt it's going to happen – it's just a question of when.
So, whether it's the link between Claire and Luke, or Matt's need for a little outside help, something will bring Marvel's Defenders together. I can't wait to find out exactly what it is...