When Marvel Studios and Netflix first announced their plan to release four new, live-action series featuring “street-level” superheroes from Marvel’s universe that would eventually lead to a team-up series, the notion seemed more than ambitious. But if we’ve learned anything by now, it’s that Marvel has a knack for turning unlikely (and some might say impossible) properties into bona fide blockbusters.
And now here we are, with The Defenders set to premiere August 18 on Netflix.
The eight-episode miniseries brings together the four titular heroes of Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist (Finn Jones) for an adventure that promises to not only pit them against a common foe, but also to merge their respective series into a more clearly defined part of Marvel’s cinematic universe set in and around New York City.
The Defenders also brings back much of the supporting cast from the four series, as well as showrunner Marco Ramirez, who served as showrunner for the second season of Daredevil. Sigourney Weaver will play the series’ mysterious villain, known only as “Alexandra.”
Here’s everything else we know about The Defenders so far.
Light it up
In a last-minute push, Netflix unveiled yet another new trailer (above) on August 17, just one day ahead of the show’s premiere. The most intense promo yet, the preview focuses less on the forming of the bond between the series’ stars and more on the danger that they face. Alexandra, in particular, is full of ominous comments.
“The more connections you have, the easier it will be to break you,” she tells them, for example.
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) August 17, 2017
And Alexandra’s words get scarier. She hints at a huge loss of life, warning the superhero foursome that they need to think something through, because “New York is so densely populated.”
Her implied threat comes to fruition in the trailer. We see several worrisome images, including glimpses of an explosion, first responders trying to deal with the aftermath of a huge emergency, and, of course, the Defenders fighting. We also get fast-tempo orchestral music that ratchets up the intensity. And if that somehow wasn’t enough, other snippets raise the stakes, reminding us of what these characters have to lose.
The trailer really lights it up, just like Danny Rand (Jones) and his fist of fury.
There is no “we” in “team”
At San Diego Comic-Con on July 21, Netflix released a second trailer for the upcoming series, showing off the team that isn’t quite a team. The preview highlights the reluctance of the superheroes to work together.
“I’m not looking for superfriends,” Luke Cage (Mike Colter) says at one point.
“There is no ‘we,'” Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) adds at another.
Yet, in spite of their protests and reluctance, they have a common enemy, the villainous Alexandra (Sigourney Weaver). As shown in the trailer, she’s clearly dangerous and has no qualms about destroying cities as she goes about her evil plan.
It looks like they have no choice but to become a “we.”
“The greatest stories ever told”
About a month ahead of the premiere of Marvel’s The Defenders, Netflix promoted the crime-fighting team with a new teaser featuring Marvel legend Stan Lee. The video, shared by The Punisher‘s Twitter account, shows Lee riding around the streets of New York City amid scenes of the Defenders in action. While he does so, he offers commentary, describing superhero tales as the “greatest stories ever told” and highlighting what makes them special.
Sir, yes sir. pic.twitter.com/PpCeLPISpp
— The Punisher (@ThePunisher) July 20, 2017
The promo’s footage is mainly of the Defenders working separately, as they (mostly) did in their respective series, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. In fact, the teaser isn’t explicitly a promo for The Defenders series itself; it promotes the four shows leading up to the crossover, while also drumming up interest in the heroes as a team. The upcoming Marvel series The Punisher even gets a plug, too.
All together now
With just two months until the premiere of The Defenders, Netflix released a pair of promotional images for the miniseries featuring its four protagonists.
The first image is a mostly black-and-white poster for the series with all four characters — Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), and Danny Rand (Finn Jones) — standing together.
Accompanying that poster was an animated image Netflix posted on Twitter with all four characters in action. The moving images of the actors are accompanied by the opening chords of Nirvana’s “Come As You Are.”
“There’s no ‘us’ in team. #DEFEND” reads the caption for the image.
— The Defenders (@TheDefenders) June 22, 2017
Fans got an earlier look at the team assembled in a photo that debuted in Empire in mid-May. The image features all four heroes gathered in a very familiar setting: The same elevator they were seen getting into in one of the first pieces of footage released a month earlier.
As eagle-eyed fans will certainly note, Luke Cage appears to be wearing his now-standard, bullet-riddled sweatshirt, but it’s uncertain whether it’s one of the many sweatshirts he’s similarly wrecked (and passed along to friends and admirers), or a new one that’s been freshly perforated.