The Defenders: Who’s who in the latest Marvel mash-up?

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Krysten Ritter, Finn Jones, Charlie Cox, Mike Colter Marvel’s The Defenders Photo: Sarah Shatz/Netflix via Netflix Press Media Center

The Defenders features characters from across four Netflix shows. There are a number of people to keep track of and they’re all interconnected and that makes it hard to keep up sometimes. We made a handy-dandy little cheat sheet so you don’t have to wonder who are The Defenders?

Not unlike nearly ten years ago when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) approached Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) about The Avengers Initiative, The Defenders is the this latest installment in Netflix’s Marvel franchise. The show brings together the four main series that preceded it: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Everything is based within the larger MCU, drawing on the same timeline and events as those featured in The Avengers.

Much like The Avengers this is a mash-up (don’t call it a team-up!) featuring the heroes (or vigilantes) of Hell’s Kitchen. Where the MCU movies only have a few hours (sometimes breaking up the movie into two-parts) The Defenders has 8 episodes at an hour each for us to over-indulge in (as opposed to the typical 13 episode order each series has gotten). The series has been leading to the big showdown between The Hand and their weapon – Black Sky (aka Elektra (Elodie Yung) but we’ll get to that) and our superheroes.

The four separate series followed the origins of these people, and personal villains they defeated. In Jessica Jones there’s an entire episode of the series titled “AKA 99 Friends” (S1E4). In it we learn that there are something like 99 people in the area last Jessica (Krysten Ritter) checked since the invasion of New York. This revelation of course comes after we’ve already been introduced to Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) in his own series and after Jessica’s first encounter with Luke Cage (Mike Colter) – though she knows who he is but there’s a whole complicated past there that’s super significant to the plot of that particular show and the Jessica/Luke dynamic. Anyway, The Defenders will focus on one great adversary and see these people become a team. But they’re not a team…Not yet anyway (where’s Phil Coulson when you need him?). Most of them don’t even know each other!

Helmed by the Daredevil showrunners Douglas Petire and Marco Ramierz things in The Defenders pick up shortly after the events of Iron Fist. But that’s the biggest issue with the MCU. Everything is so interconnected that various characters from each series have cropped up in other shows as a means of keeping tabs on our main heroes: Matt, Jessica, and Luke…Wait…did I forget to mention Danny Rand (Finn Jones)? Okay, fine…yeah, him too. But there is a massive amount of people to keep track of besides the fab four (nope, definitely get why they call themselves The Defenders and it’s not just because it kind of sort of rhymes with the Avengers) and that makes it hard to keep up sometimes.

So we thought it might be useful to create a little cheat sheet (#NotAllHeroesWearCaps) to make things a little less complicated! There are some spoilers for The Defenders inside so proceed at your own risk. With that being said, Defenders A-I’m kidding, relax, Jessica would probably kick my butt if she heard me make that joke.

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