Whatever formula Marvel is using in adapting its comics to live-action, it is working. With over a dozen movies into their Cinematic Universe and now rallying their small-screen heroes together in The Defenders, inevitable comparisons to the massively successful Avengers are being made -- comparisons showrunner Marco Ramirez is very much aware of and expecting.
Prior to 2012's release of The Avengers, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had unveiled two Iron Man films, Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, and The Incredible Hulk. Heading into The Defenders, the Marvel Television world has been developed by two Daredevil seasons, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist. Right now, all of those characters are teaming up to take on a threat in New York City -- a statement which can also be used to describe the ensemble film from 2012.
"When you have literally the footprints that The Avengers had, there's kind of no way to avoid the comparison and no way to avoid referencing it in the writers room," Ramirez told THR. "It's an incredible achievement and a great story told really well."
Ramirez found inspiration for The Defenders in places other than previous Marvel films, however.
"Aside from that, in the formation of the show in the writers room, it was important to me to talk about story templates and influences," Ramirez said. "We talked about The Dirty Dozen and Seven Samurai. We talked about movies and cinematic stories where characters came together who did not want to come together, who had their own in-fighting but ultimately came together to fight something bad in some way. I would like to think the influences are wide in that way."
When Ramirez spoke with ComicBook.com at San Diego Comic-Con, the showrunner revealed the specific areas which he feels the need to emphasize in The Defenders when creating such an ensemble. "This is about group dynamics," Ramirez said. "These characters, for us and for the fight choreographers, and Jessica [Henwick] knows this as well as anybody, the fight choreograph ... each character on these shows fights very distinctly and very differently."
Ramirez specifically cites one of the most iconic interactions between characters in Marvel's Netflix world: Daredevil and The Punisher. "I remember season two of Daredevil, we had many conversations about how Daredevil fought differently than Frank Castle fought," Ramirez said. "It's almost like an extension of language, the way that they dance in the world, the way that they perform violence is very different. So it's really just about this ballet, or rather this symphony of all these different instruments. The way that Luke Cage throws a punch is very different than the way Jessica Jones throws a punch, is very different than the way Danny throws a punch."