Marvel's The Defenders was supposed to be the culmination of Marvel's bold and groundbreaking Netflix TV series, bringing together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, in an epic battle for NYC against The Hand. However, things took a turn for the unexpected when The Defenders turned out to be Marvel Netflix's least-viewed project, which has left the prospect of The Defenders vol. 2 hanging in limbo.
"I think what we discovered with The Defenders is that it was a lot to try and handle within eight episodes. To have these four people meet in an organic way and then set up a story, and then resolve it, and introduce a new villain all in eight episodes, became a lot. In a weird way, the first part of the season felt too slow because they wanted these people to meet organically and not just chuck them in a room in the first episode. But then, by the time that happened, we only had three episodes left."
They're probably few Marvel fans who would argue with Cox or get triggered by his assessment - mostly most fans have voiced those same criticisms about The Defenders since it premiered in summer 2017. And, despite admitting that the miniseries took too long to get to its main event (The Defenders meeting and teaming up), he does have a lot of positive takeaways to share with Metro UK:
"I had a great time filming it. I really loved working with those other Defenders and I really enjoyed the dynamic. In the process of doing Daredevil, I've kind of become a fan of those genre in a way I wasn't before — so I do get a little kick out of these little easter egg moments of when they may meet, how they interact and what that's like."
He also acknowledged that the challenge of doing The Defenders was an unprecedented challenge. Marvel Cinematic Universe solo movie characters only had a total of about 2.5 hours apiece of development before being combined in the Avengers movie - The Defenders characters had 13 hours each of individual backstory, and general "flavor" worked into them, before having to fit all of that expansive development into the much tighter package of an ensemble piece. As Cox sees it, the showrunners at Marvel did the best job possible:
"It was a real challenge, and Marco Ramirez did an amazing job because he's having to take characters who were created and written by, not just different writers, but also shows that are tonally completely different. Just trying to bring The Defenders into one tone was a mammoth undertaking. I think he did fantastically in that area."
Finally, with Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb recently admitting that The Defenders season 2 is still a possibility, Cox is pulling for the show to get another chance:
"I would like to see it go again if that's something they wanted to do. I'd be well up for that. I think that'd be really fun. I would like to see a story that is more in keeping with the show's that we make, which is a little bit more grounded, a little more boots on the ground. I don't want to see us try and compete with the Avengers in terms of the scope. I'd like to see The Defenders in more of a crime drama that happens in Hell's Kitchen underground. That'd be fun."
There are so many rich storylines from Marvel Comics that would fit exactly what Cox is talking about with his proposed story angle for The Defenders season 2 - such as "Shadowland." That story saw Daredevil invade Hell's kitchen as the leader of The Hand, while secretly possessed by a demonic entity associated with the group. Daredevil becomes more and more brutal with his Hand version of justice in the streets, forcing other street-level heroes to unite and take him on. It ends with Iron Fist using chi techniques to free Matt Murdock from The Beast, while Murdock takes his own life to end the threat.
Given where all the Marvel Netflix show currently are in their storyline, "Shadowland" wouldn't be bad for The Defenders season 2 - especially after the upcoming game-changing events of Daredevil season 3.
Catch Daredevil season on Netflix starting October 19th. Catch up on The Defenders and the other Marvel series on Netflix.