The Netflix side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about to get bigger thanks to The Defenders which arrives in 2017. While not much is known about the superhero team up (other than the rumored adversaries, The Hand) we finally have a detail to speculate over until then. Daredevil stars Charlie Cox and Elden Henson and Marvel CCO Joe Quesada sat down for a Q&A at the Toronto Fan Expo 2016. In it, Cox was asked about the chances of Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson getting along with Jessica Jones in The Defenders. Charlie said this:
"The Matt Murdock-Jessica Jones is going to be an interesting relationship. Like, I can see them kind of getting on... But they're two people who don't really... They're not particularly friendly. So that's gonna be cool. The relationship that I'm most interested to see fleshed out is the Matt Murdock-Danny Rand one. I met Finn Jones the other day and I just think that in the comics that's a lovely relationship so I would like to see how that works out on screen."
Cox's answer is surprising, because it's rare to see actors portraying superheroes actually delve deep into the comic book history of their characters for details such as their dynamics with others. His comment also poses a very interesting question: Are we actually getting an Iron Fist/Daredevil friendship in The Defenders? If they do, how can their friendship avoid the usual superhero cliches we see in movies and on TV?
Daredevil and Iron Fist's Relationship In The Comics
Daredevil and Iron Fist share a strong friendship in the comic books. While it might not be the bromance that Iron Fist and Luke Cage share, the two have crossed paths multiple times, occasions on which they've proved that their relationship is one of trust and mutual respect.
One example was when Daredevil and Captain America broke into the Rand-Meachum corporation to track a villain. While at first Iron Fist fought the blind superhero, he stopped the instant he recognized his opponent was Daredevil.
Now, this was at a time when Matt Murdock was presumed dead by everyone so Iron Fist stopping his attack just by seeing someone in a Daredevil suit in front of him showed the respect Rand had for Murdock.
Another great example can be found during and after the Civil War storyline. Before everything went to hell, Matt Murdock had been revealed to the public as Daredevil and was imprisoned during the superhero war. But if you've read the Civil War event, then you know that he played a pivotal role in making Tony Stark have a change of heart. So..how could he be in both places at once? Well, because Danny Rand stepped in to fill Daredevil's shoes while Matt Murdock was incarcerated.
- The Friends And Frenemies Of The Man Without Fear
- Comic Book History 101: Who Is Marvel's Iron Fist?
- Everything You Need To Know About Marvel's 'The Defenders'
Originally outraged that someone was acting in his name, Matt Murdock confronted his impostor but stopped after realizing it was Danny Rand, acknowledging the young man would never betray him. While Danny didn't start posing as Daredevil out of his own initiative, he did help Murdock by continuing to patrol the streets as Horn-Head so the public would believe the hero and the blind lawyer were two different people.
There was also the time in the Shadowland storyline where Daredevil was possessed by a demon who was part of The Hand (I know, comic books) and was wreaking havoc in the city. While several heroes confronted him, Iron Fist was the one to step up and literally punch the demon right out of Matt Murdock. This saved the lawyer and avoided Punisher's on-brand but far less optimal solution: Killing him.
So, as you can see, their friendship is a very interesting one that, while not constantly displayed in comic books, can be instantly recognized thanks to their dynamic.
Can Their Differing Personalities Translate To Friendship In The Defenders?
What will make The Defenders stand on its own are its characters and their relationships with one another. In the comics, Jessica Jones is in a relationship with Luke Cage who is in a business partnership with Iron Fist. And Matt Murdock and Danny Rand are good friends...but that's all in the printed page.
The question now becomes, do the Netflix versions of Iron Fist and Daredevil lend themselves to a friendship that mirrors their comic book counterparts? Daredevil has thoroughly explored Matt Murdock throughout its two seasons. We know who he is and what makes him tick, and he (despite his determination to work alone) has been set up as someone with whom you could have a strong friendship.
On the other hand, Danny Rand, from what we've seen from the synopsis and teaser trailer (which you can see above), is bitter and looking to get his life back. If it follows the comic books, however, his personality will transform into the easy-going and jovial one for which Rand is known. Yes, he has his serious moments, but we're not talking Punisher-level serious. So, should we expect to see a friendship blossom between these two martial arts-loving superheroes? In a word, yes.
The Yin And Yang Of Iron Fist And Daredevil Will Create A Great Dynamic
Assuming he finds it in the first season of his series, Iron Fist's laid-back playfulness would be a great contrast to Daredevil's strict, stern personality. The combination of their personalities could be a foil to Jessica Jones' grumpiness and Luke Cage's more no-nonsense attitude and would nicely compliment the team with a mixed and diverse dynamic — though it would be safe to say not one of them are what you'd call a people person.
As I said before, their connection has been established in the comics. This makes it easier for the writers of The Defenders to create a dynamic between the two heroes instead of creating it out of thin air so as to not make the blind lawyer feel out of place in a new team with members that already have or will have relationships with one another. Because of this and Charlie Cox's comments, I have no doubt that we'll see an interesting dynamic between the pair once the show arrives. And, what's more, it's a dynamic that doesn't have to fall into the "male superheroes as rivals" cliche.
How Their Relationship In The Defenders Can Avoid The Tired Superhero Drama
Movies and TV shows can now take the freedom to devote entire storylines to superhero rivalries like we've seen with Captain America vs. Iron Man, Superman vs. Batman or Daredevil vs. Punisher. The thing is, these interactions use a formula that we've seen over and over.
Danny Rand and Matt Murdock's friendship in The Defenders can break the mold for this tired superhero team-up formula, in which heroes meet, clash personality-wise, spend most of the story fighting, then ultimately realize they're both on the same side and band together to fight a bigger threat. It would be refreshing if Defenders portrayed Iron Fist and Daredevil hitting it off from the beginning as both equals and friends.
Both understand the struggles of growing up without parents and the battle to become your own man without anyone to guide you. Showing them connecting through those aspects would be a welcome change of pace for superhero storytelling.
To sum everything up, Matt and Danny's friendship is a really cool aspect of the comics. They might not hug everything out and be the type to brofist everything (well...not Matt, at least), but they treat each other with respect and trust so we, as the readers, can understand it.
A relationship like this in a superhero team up series, with the level of quality we've gotten from the Netflix universe, would be a sure highlight and a welcome addition to all the madness that's sure to come when Hell's Kitchen's best heroes band together to fight a bigger threat.
What relationship are you most looking forward to watching develop in the Marvel Netflix series?