How Marvel Studios Can (Re)introduce The Defenders Into the MCU
Marvel’s Netflix venture gave fans some of the most interesting programmings for Marvel TV. From the gritty, suspense, and dark themes of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and The Punisher to the Superhero Street vibes in Luke Cage & Iron Fist, Marvel’s Netflix had something for everyone. On top of it all, the casting in these shows was phenomenal. They embodied these characters, and it was the interactions that sold us on their chemistry. Charlie Cox‘s Daredevil with Jon Bernthal‘s Punisher gave life to a very memorable showdown in Daredevil‘s second season. Krysten Ritter‘s Jessica Jones and Mike Colter‘s Luke Cage shared some incredible chemistry during their time together. In their attempt to recreate the Marvel Cinematic Universe formula on a smaller scale, these Netflix shows created a tiny world set within a larger universe.
Since their respective cancellations in 2018, people have been waiting for Marvel Studios to bring them back. So now, after years of waiting, all of Marvel’s Netflix rights have reverted to Disney and Marvel. Now, we have to wonder what will follow now that Marvel has all of these characters at their disposal. So, Kevin Feige has a slew of choices ahead of him. How do you introduce these characters into the MCU? Do you recast them or try a soft reboot? Can you continue their stories from their time on Netflix, or would they require new backstories? These are all essential questions moving forward. If only we had a precedent as to what we can expect. Luckily, we can.
Daredevil is a perfect candidate to stick with long-form storytelling. I do believe that he needs to have his first appearance in the MCU in another franchise. We know that Charlie Cox will reprise his role as Matt Murdock in the upcoming Spider-Man threequel, which will release at the end of this year. How exactly that will play out remains to be seen, but given how Spider-Man: Far From Home ended in 2019, chances are Peter Parker is going to need one hell of a lawyer. The dynamic duo of Nelson and Murdock are perfect candidates to tackle this case.
If you ask me what I’d adapt for this series, I believe Daredevil: Gang War by Frank Miller and Tom DeFalco would be a fantastic story for a future show. You would already have Matt Murdock established in the MCU as Daredevil, and it would also be a brilliant way to reintroduce Wilson Fisk. In this particular run, he retired in Japan with his wife, Vanessa. She had grown sick of Fisk’s life of crime, but they are forced back due to his wife getting kidnapped by a former rival gang. It could explain Kingpin’s absence in the MCU, and I have an excuse to say that I want Vincent D’Onofrio back as Kingpin.
Following a similar introduction pattern of Daredevil, there are rumors that Jessica Jones could make her appearance in the upcoming She-Hulk series. Like before, we have no idea how she might play into the story. I am working on a theory of what role she might have in She-Hulk, but that still needs some time in the oven as a potential Theory Thursday piece.
Story-wise, I liked Jessica Jones: Blind Spot by Kelly Thompson, and it is a story that would be the perfect choice for her MCU introduction. It is a murder mystery thriller, where Jessica Jones is the prime suspect in a murder. Her regret haunts her, as she failed to help her years ago. Not only would it showcase Jessica’s investigative abilities, but also uniquely retell her origin. The murderer could tease her alongside the audience with bits and pieces of her past. The viewers get immersed in the murder mystery and allow them to piece together Jessica’s origin.
Heroes for Hire (Luke Cage/Iron Fist)
The fact that we never got the chance to see Mike Colter and Finn Jones truly embrace the dynamic Heroes for Hire duo is criminal. A buddy cop series similar to the styles of Bad Boys, Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour, and 21 Jump Street is how I could see these two pull appear in the MCU. And I would keep their origins the same way and have it play out like in the comics. Luke Cage was exonerated, so both of them meet at a party and get into a fistfight. Afterward, they both become great friends by the end of it. It also would allow viewers to truly explore Iron Fist’s vast history from the comics with Cage as the straight man trying to figure out all the craziness that starts to haunt them.
Say what you want about The Punisher, but Jon Bernthal‘s portrayal of the character was incredible in Daredevil and his spinoff show. In the comics, Frank Castle always appeared as a secondary character or even as an antagonist. He got into fights with the likes of Spider-Man and, of course, Daredevil before being given his comic run. Netflix replicated the formula by making him appear in the second season of Daredevil. He had a recurring role before being given a spinoff. My money’s on Marvel Studios doing the same thing. Castle will appear in another franchise before being given his show. And there are several places he could appear in if you consider Castle’s military background.
He could be a former ally to Col. James Rhodes and have a brief cameo appearance in the upcoming Armor Wars series. There is also the chance that he could make his MCU debut in the Moon Knight series. Their interactions in the comics have been iconic. I am not sure what story to give Punisher’s new MCU series because I’m unfamiliar with his comic runs. What I do know is that the show should be similar to the Netflix counterpart. We will explore Castle’s motives before he becomes the Punisher. It shouldn’t shy away from the dark and gritty, which would still be possible to showcase on Disney+.