When Daredevil first hit our screens back in spring 2015, it was clear that the Netflix show heralded a new era of superhero storytelling. Defying the cheesy and fun formula of the MCU films, Daredevil showed another side to the story, taking the vigilante tale down to ground level as Matt Murdock struggled to keep the peace in Hell's Kitchen. The show dropped to rave reviews, and Jessica Jones soon followed — this Netflix offering was daring and dark, yet surprisingly sensitive and progressive.
Of course we've got Daredevil Season 3 to look forward to, as well as the hotly anticipated Luke Cage series, but there's one big event all these shows are building up to — the epic team-up that is The Defenders series. At SDCC Marvel released a sizzle reel to build up the hype for this show, as if the idea of the Netflix heroes uniting wasn't enough to make us mad with excitement.
The reel is pretty standard — it's comprised of the highlights of the Netflix shows so far, as well as snippets from the Luke Cage trailer — and so far has gone fairly unnoticed. But there's a few key elements that tease what The Defenders might explore, as well as one character's involvement in the show. And that character is the one and only Frank Castle a.k.a. the Punisher himself.
The Punisher really stole the show in Daredevil Season 2, as Frank went on his own journey of vengeance. The portrayal of this iconic character truly lived up to expectations, surprising us by playing up his human side, stressing his love for his family and that he's not just a murderous monster — and giving us that satisfying blood bath in the Punisher's grand finale. The last episode also left the door wide open for the Punisher to return, as he and Daredevil reached an uneasy, but amicable, alliance.
And then the news fell silent. For a while there was some buzz about a Punisher solo series, though we're still waiting for a release date on that. But we might be seeing Frank sooner than we expected, as The Defenders sizzle reel ended in the Punisher marching menacingly towards the screen. Will he appear in the team-up show? It's starting to look more and more likely, especially considering the plot the show might explore...
All Out War In Hell's Kitchen
There are many aspects of the Netflix shows that this sizzle reel could have focused on — the vigilante angle, the moral struggle — but they chose the theme of war. The reel slowly builds up, revealing how our heroes have been stirring up conflict in Hell's Kitchen as much as they've been trying to keep the peace. As Daredevil Season 2 explored, this has so far resulted in a bunch of power vacuums, with bigger, badder Big Bads plunging into the fray.
This could very well be the plot of The Defenders — a massive turf war in Hell's Kitchen, as all the gangs that the vigilantes have pissed off come together to face our heroes. Or maybe the war will be much more chaotic, with the Defenders facing threats from all angles. There's a quote from the upcoming Luke Cage show which seems to tease this:
Obviously, the "war" he's referring to will be a plot point in Luke Cage's show, but when you put all this together it certainly seems to point towards a massive conflict in the team-up show. This could lead to uncertain alliances — looking at you, Punisher — and the return of old friends like Stick. Of course, we already heard Stick warning the team of their own dysfunction in the official Defenders teaser...
...and it seems likely that with all their differences the Defenders may be heading towards a civil war of their own before facing down the veritable army of gangs running riot in Hell's Kitchen. Here's hoping they can find a way to unite their forces, as there's one thing for certain — The Defenders is going to be one hell of a ride.