Though Marvel has experience with massive crossover events in the movie business, bringing separate properties together on television is a different story. But the roadmap to The Defenders was clear, and ever since Charlie Cox took the job on Daredevil he knew there was an endgame.
He just didn’t realize what he was getting into.
Speaking with the Hollywood Reporter, Cox revealed his expectations of the series and just how daunting of an undertaking it was to bring the the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen together with Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
“I just had no idea what it was going to be. I had no concept of how these four shows would come together and what it would feel like, and what the tone would feel like,” Cox said. I was very impressed with how they constructed it. It's a very tough job. I thought [showrunner] Marco Ramirez and Douglas Petrie, it was very tricky for them. They're obviously familiar with Daredevil, but then they had to become very comfortable writing these other three characters, who they hadn't been writing yet.”
While The Defenders would bring in fans of Daredevil and the other shows, Cox made it clear that they didn’t assume every viewer watched all of the individual series.
“Plus, there's talk about making a show that's enjoyable for not just the fans of the other shows, but also for people who haven't seen any of the shows,” Cox said. “Early on in particular, there were some reintroductions that people who watched the show, if it was done poorly, could have found boring. I think they handled that really well.”
The showrunners also had to deal with the individual storylines and how the characters would be set up for future shows.
“The other thing as well, and this is all technical stuff, but my feeling is that since they have all of these other shows — Daredevil having a season three, and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage having a season two — all of these stories have to time out, if that makes sense. What happens in the lives of these characters in The Defenders has to be consistent with the shows that they're on in that world,” Cox said.
Making sure everything lined up was one of the biggest hurdles for the series, according to Cox.
“I’m guessing, but presumably, everything happening for Jessica Jones season two, Luke Cage season two, Iron Fist season two and Daredevil season three will be post-The Defenders. It has to be,” Cox said. “So in order to write The Defenders itself, you have to make sure you're in the same timeframe for all of those characters. That just sounds to me like such a mind-f**k. I don't know how you do that. And one of the things that happened with this show is that we made it take place over the course of about a week, and a lot of it is very plot-heavy. You get to brush over a few things that if it was an individual show, you probably would have to deal with a bit more.”
You can watch the fruits of the Marvel’s accomplishments now; The Defenders is now streaming on Netflix.
Marvel’s The Defenders follows Daredevil (Charlie Cox), Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Iron Fist (Finn Jones). A quartet of singular heroes with one common goal – to save New York City. This is the story of four solitary figures, burdened with their own personal challenges, who realize they just might be stronger when teamed together.