‘The Defenders’ in the MCU: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

marvel studios defenders

The (less than) great debate is over: Marvel Television’s Netflix Dedenders-verse series have been revealed to have taken place on the MCU’s Sacred Timeline. That means that though nobody at Marvel Studios was involved with the creative choices made over the course of 13 total seasons, they’ve decided to retcon them into the Infinity Saga. And so major moments like the War for New York, the War for Harlem and Wilson Fisk’s arrest following his fight with Daredevil at the Presidential Hotel all took place between the events of Captain America: The Winter Solider and Avengers: Infinity War. With that now the case, we look at the best and worst parts of the Netflix series that are now MCU canon.

The Good

Krysten Ritter IS Jessica Jones

As great as Jon Bernthal, Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio were in their respective roles, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Krysten Ritter portraying Jessica Jones. There have been plenty of rumors of Jones returning for projects such as Echo and Daredevil: Born Again but so far, nothing has come of those. The latest in the long line of scoops has her joining the cast of Spider-Man 4 and siding with Spidey, DD and more in a “street-level Civil War” against Kingpin. Get Ritter back in the torn jeans and leather jacket and get her in the Multiverse Saga!

Misty Knight

Simone Missick’s Misty Knight was by far one of the best supporting characters to appear in the Netflix series. While that rumored Daughters of the Dragon series may never get off the ground, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left for Misty to do. In fact, it might be the perfect time for the character to jump into the Multiverse Saga and team up with another one of her frequent comic book collaborators: Sam Wilson. In the comics, the two have been in a romantic relationship for quite some time as they’ve worked through some of the many issues Sam has faced as Captain America. In this case, the timing couldn’t be any better with Sam about to make his big screen debut as Cap in Captain America: Brave New World.

K’un-Lun Can Be Redeemed

While any effort to include Danny Rand in an MCU project would have to start with recasting Finn Jones, the Netflix series didn’t do any damage to K’un-Lun that can’t be undone. The end of Season 2 of Iron Fist set the stage for the third season to adapt Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction‘s absolutely epic run on The Immortal Iron Fist and if there’s any other Iron Fist story that NEEDS to be told, it’s that one. Almost certainly better told episodically, any adaptation of that series could explore the long history of the hidden city and its protectors, introduce the other Capital Cities of Heaven and the fascinating characters associated with them such as Fat Cobra, The Prince of Orphans and Tiger’s Beautiful Daughter. As wehave already noted, Marvel Studios has already established the idea of hidden cities in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which should only provide an even easier retconning of K’un-Lun into the Multiverse Saga.

The Bad

Typhoid Mary

Though plenty of the Man Without Fear’s antagonists are still out there waiting to be brought to justice, it’s tough to swallow that Alice Eve‘s version of Typhoid Mary is canon. It’s not to say that she can’t find her way back as an upgraded version of herself but making her just a highly trained soldier rather than loading her up with her comic book psionic power set was a disappointing move.

Danny Rand

This isn’t necessarily yet another in a long line of knocks against Finn Jones… though it may sure sound like it. Jones‘ talent as an actor aside, Danny Rand was easily the most poorly written of the Defenders. Impulsive, reckless and–in the words of Sowande–“the dumbest Iron Fist yet.” While it was certainly intentionally built in as a character flaw, Rand’s blatant stupidity was fully displayed when he allowed himself to be manipulated by Elektra in Midland Circle. Danny Rand is an idiot and the character deserves better. And the issue of the character’s idiotic nature doesn’t even address the fact that as the Immortal Iron Fist, Rand should have been one of the world’s best hand-to-hand combatants–capable of defeating multiple enemies at once without breaking a sweat. Instead, he often found himself having to rely on the glowy fist to beat up baddies.

The Ugly

The Hand

The Hand was a prominent threat in the Defenders-verse until finally being defeated by the Defenders beneath Midland Circle. However, nothing showed the Netflix series’ lack of deference to the comics more than the way they handled the ancient organization. A clan of zombie ninjas that worship an ancient demon known as The Beast is a can’t-miss concept…and Netflix missed terribly. There’s some hope that the ancient cult could be done right in the MCU but it seems more likely that they’ll never be heard from again, joining AIM as victims of the worst live-action interpretations of a Marvel Comics organization.

Repeat Casting

In Season 1 of Luke Cage, Mahershala Ali’s Cornell “Cottonmouth” Stokes ran the Stokes Crime Family from Harlem’s Paradise. Over two seasons of Luke Cage, Alfre Woodard‘s Mariah Dillard, Cottomouth’s cousin, served as the primary antagonist of Harlem’s Hero for Hire. Both Ali and Woodard gave powerful, inspired and unforgettable performances in their respective roles–arguably among the best of any talent that worked on the Netflix series. That already made it hard to see Woodard in a different role in Captain America: Civil War and it will make it even harder to see Ali as another main character when Blade finally hits theaters. While it’s likely true that many fans who turn out to see Blade may not have watched a second of Luke Cage, adding it to the MCU timeline on Disney Plus increases the possibility that more folks will and ultimately have questions about Ali’s dual roles.

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