Hardcore Marvel fans may be surprised to find that most Netflix users don’t watch Marvel’s Defenders shows in chronological order.
Fans who follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe closely and learned about the shows as there were announced an debuted likely followed along beginning with Daredevil and continuing through Jessica Jones, Daredevil’s second season, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, but that’s not how Netflix’s larger audience does it.
For general audiences, Jessica Jones is the jumping on point of choice. They then typically move onto both season of Daredevil, then Luke Cage and then Iron Fist.
Netflix estimates that one-in-eight users are not familiar with content based on comic books before beginning the Defenders shows, and so their first Netflix Marvel series is also their first superhero TV series.
“When it comes to an individual story, they’ll watch it in order. But when it comes to these related kind of series, they’re very different kinds of stories,” Todd Yellin, Netflix’s vice president of product innovation, tells USA Today. “They watch them in order of how they’re interested in them and how they learn about them."
Another interesting note was that those who watched Jessica Jones typically followed it up with Daredevil and vice versa, while those who began with Luke Cage usually went next to Iron Fist and vice versa. The later pairing could be explained by Cage and Iron Fist’s shared history as the Heroes for Hire in the Marvel Comics universe, though Yellin admits it's a little surprising that Jessica Jones didn’t lead more fans to Luke Cage since Michael Colter debuted as Cage in the former series. Those who have watched The Defenders may also note that these pairings are reflected in how the team pairs off early in the series, though it's unknown if that was intentional based on this data.
Which Marvel series Netflix users would start with was also influenced by which other shows the user enjoyed, as you may expect. Those who enjoy gritty tales of antiheroes such as Netflix users would start with was also influenced by which other shows the user enjoyed, as you may expect. Those who enjoy gritty tales of antiheroes such as Breaking Bad, Dexter and House of Cards naturally progressed onto Daredevil. Jessica Jones was a common starting point for fans of shows with strong female casts, including Orange is the New Black, Friends, and Master of None.
Luke Cage was most appealing to those with a taste for the dark side, including Black Mirror, The Walking Dead, and the Amanda Knox documentary. Luke Cage was also a common starting point for fans of Stranger Things. Iron Fist appealed more to younger viewers who favor coming of age tales like The 100 and 13 Reasons Why.
Marvel The Defenders is now streaming on Netflix.