The Defenders showrunners talk tone & characters of the Netflix show

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Marvel’s deal with Netflix has proven the studio can make truly great, diverse content outside of its Cinematic Universe. The world is darker and the characters are explored in-depth. It’s a perfect avenue for any comic book series, and has so far done wonders for the characters Jessica Jones and Daredevil. But they have two more friends about to get their shot at glory—Luke Cage and Iron Fist. After both of those shows air (CAGE on September 30, and FIST in early 2017) all four will combine forces to form THE DEFENDERS.

Not a whole lot is known about the team-up show, but thanks to an interview with showrunners Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez, and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb on IGN, the crew has answered a lot of questions that have been burning the insides of fans, most notably, “What is the show about?”:


Everyone's asked us, 'What is Defenders about?' and at the end of the day, what it's about is about four people who have an awesome responsibility that particularly want that responsibility, who are brought together to deal with something that no one else can or will," he said. "If that part works, then the rest, as they say, is cream cheese."

How to get these characters together so they can fight all the bad guys has been a big aspect they've been trying to sort out:


In the room we're talking about this character A and character C, and we're like, wait! Have they ever…? Wait, have they ever met each other? And then we'll be like, oh, they have so-and-so in common, and we're like, 'Oh, that's right.’ There's weirdly a family tree in our heads and also on the boards. We're like OK, so this person has crossed paths with this person, this person knows who this is and what this person is capable of, and keeping it all accurate has been one of the bigger challenges. “

The idea that we get to mix these ingredients is kind of, as a comic book fan and also just as a fan of storytelling, one of the coolest elements of this job — or of any job I've ever had. Being able to think about what it means when some of these people are in rooms together for the first time, and how we want to play, and how we want to make it both what fans are expected but also not how they're expected it to happen — because some of these characters have obviously met each other in the comics — we just want to make sure that's it as iconic and awesome as it can be."

That being said, there’s one challenging area that has proven to be absolute for the writers, but one they are hard at work trying to crack.


The tone question is probably one of the most challenging and most exciting parts of this project because we get to overlap the four tones of the four shows and get to see what it looks like when a bit of a 'Daredevil tone' overlaps into a Jessica story and vice versa, or what happens when Luke Cage is suddenly in a scenario that feels kind of like it would have happened on Daredevil instead. The tone has really just been about organically blending those all together so that it feels like they're all cohesive and all of a piece. And of course, we're improvising to a certain degree. We're writing these things, and there certainly is a plan in place, and Marvel and Netflix and Jeph Loeb have all had very smart framework for what everything kind of looks like."

But even after the series ends, and the team has saved the day, don’t expect Iron Fist and Daredevil to go off and have a playdate, or for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones to have a civil war.  They will most likely go off and do their own thing, much like they're doing now:


It’s not about physical proximity; it’s about what is that character need at that time. Jessica is not going to ask for help, you know? And if she does, why would she ask a lawyer?”

THE DEFENDERS has no set release date yet, but will probably be out around late 2017. For now, here's that sweet LUKE CAGE trailer again.

Source: IGN

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