Summary

  • Marvel Studios may have made Netflix’s
    Defenders
    projects canon in the MCU, expanding the world and history of the franchise.
  • The MCU’s future could feature the returns of the Hand, the Daughters of the Dragon, K’un-Lun and Bullseye.
  • Kingpin’s influence and power has been glimpsed in the MCU, but Marvel Studios can look to
    The Defenders Saga
    to showcase this even further.

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Now that Marvel Studios may have made Netflix’s Defenders projects canon, many aspects of the six shows in the franchise can now be integrated into the wider world of the MCU proper. Long before the days of Disney+ and Marvel Studios’ own TV shows set in the MCU, Marvel Television developed several series that ran adjacent to the MCU’s big-screen projects. While various networks took on Agents of SHIELD, Agent Carter and Runaways, Netflix premiered six shows that were dubbed The Defenders Saga, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Defenders and The Punisher, and Marvel Studios may have officially made The Defenders Saga canon to the MCU.

Daredevil season 1, The Defenders Saga’s first project, premiered in 2015, and the franchise continued until each show was canceled in 2018 and 2019, concluding with Jessica Jones season 3. This Marvel Television franchise focused on street-level stories and heroes, while the MCU’s bigger names starred in Marvel Studios’ feature films. Despite being canceled, and its canon status in the MCU being disputed, the complete Defenders Saga was added to the MCU’s timeline on Disney+ in January 2024, suggesting the six shows are now officially canon. While Marvel Studios hasn’t provided an official comment, this could expand the world of the MCU and its complex history in some exciting ways.​​​​​​​

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Daredevil & The Defenders Complete Timeline: What Order To Watch

The Netflix Marvel shows are on Disney+. With Daredevil: Born Again on the way, here’s the full watch order for The Defenders shows and The Punisher.

10 The Hand Is Lurking In The MCU’s Shadows

The Hand Was A Huge Villain Group In The Defenders Saga

While each project in The Defenders Saga focused on a selection of different villains, the Hand was an ever-present threat throughout each series. The Hand was an ancient and powerful clan founded with the goal of gaining immortality. Alexandra Reid, Madame Gao, Bakuto, Murakami and Sowande, five students of K’un-Lun, using the gifts they received to cheat death, becoming the founders of the Hand centuries ago. They would build their own criminal empires over the years, and eventually come to blows with the Defenders, leading to the Hand’s apparent destruction. However, it’s possible the organization could still have operatives around the world, who may wreak havoc in the MCU’s future.

9 K’un-Lun Joins Ta Lo As Another Hidden, Mystical MCU Realm

Danny Rand Got His Iron Fist Power From K’un-Lun

Danny Rand looking at K'un-Lun in the MCU

While the Hand may have begun in K’un-Lun, the mystical realm also birthed powerful heroes, including the Iron Fist. Danny Rand’s Iron Fist became a member of the Defenders after returning to New York City from K’un-Lun, and while Rand hasn’t been confirmed to be returning to the MCU, there is precedence for K’un-Lun to finally make its appearance in the MCU proper. Phase 4 introduced a similarly-mystical dimension in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ Ta Lo. Both K’un-Lun and Ta Lo could be revealed to be among the Seven Capital Cities of Heaven in the MCU, potentially hinting at some huge godly battles in the future.

8 Night Nurse May Be Helping Other MCU Heroes

Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple Was Night Nurse In The Defenders Saga

Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple in the MCU

One of the strongest threads between every project in The Defenders Saga was the persistent appearances of Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple. A former night shift nurse at Metro-General Hospital, Temple helped look after the superpowered residents of New York City after their battles, including Matt Murdock, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Danny Rand and Colleen Wing. Adapted from Marvel Comics’ Night Nurse, it’s very possible that Claire Temple could have also been helping other street-level heroes in the MCU, especially since The Defenders Saga may have now been made canon, which could bring her into contact with the likes of Moon Knight, Spider-Man and Echo.

Rosario Dawson’s Claire Temple was adapted from Marvel Comics’ Claire Temple and Linda Carter, the original Night Nurse. Temple was a doctor associated with Luke Cage, while Carter, and later Georgia Jenkins and Christine Palmer, became Night Nurse, helping various Marvel Comics heroes over the years.

7 Marvel Studios Can Revisit Its Canceled Daughters Of The Dragon Series

Colleen Wing & Misty Knight Were Planned For Daughters Of The Dragon

Misty Knight and Colleen Wing as the Daughters of the Dragon in the MCU

Prior to the cancelation of The Defenders Saga, a spinoff series was planned to focus on the characters of Simone Missick’s Misty Knight and Jessica Henwick’s Colleen Wing, Marvel Television’s Daughters of the Dragon. Unfortunately, this series never came to fruition, but now that these characters are presumably canon in the MCU’s timeline, it’s possible that the Daughters of the Dragon could finally join forces on-screen. Colleen Wing’s chi mastery and Misty Knight’s powerful bionic arm make them a formidable pairing, so it would be great to see them team up alongside the MCU’s other street-level heroes in the MCU’s future.

6 Luke Cage & Jessica Jones’ Relationship Can Pick Up

Luke Cage & Jessica Jones Have A Long-Lasting Relationship In Marvel Comics

Mike Colter’s Luke Cage and Krysten Ritter’s Jessica Jones had an incredibly tumultuous relationship in The Defenders Saga, taking them from lovers to enemies to superhero colleagues. While Cage would later embark on a romantic relationship with Claire Temple, the pair officially broke up during Luke Cage season 2, so it’s possible that Jessica Jones could once again fill this role. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones have a lengthy relationship and marriage in Marvel Comics, and even have a daughter, Danielle, so it’s possible that upcoming MCU projects could see the pair reunite and strike up this power-couple connection once again.

5 An Upgraded Bullseye Has Been Operating In The MCU For Years

Bullseye Received Upgrades In Daredevil Season 3

Ben Poindexter getting surgery in the MCU

Daredevil season 3 saw Vincent D’Onofrio’s Wilson Fisk, a.k.a. Kingpin, make another attempt at discrediting and destroying the life and vigilante career of Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil. Ben Poindexter, played by Wilson Bethel, used his perfect marksmanship and Daredevil disguise to make Murdock look like a villain, but was defeated by both Daredevil and Kingpin during their epic final battle, leaving him paralyzed. Poindexter, a.k.a. Bullseye, was seen receiving bionic upgrades to his spine in Daredevil season 3’s finale, however, and if this is canon, he has surely been operating as a powerful street-level villain for several years now, so could reappear in the MCU’s future.

In Marvel Comics, Bullseye’s spine is reinforced with adamantium, the same metal that is bonded to Wolverine’s skeleton, so Poindexter’s return to the MCU could provide a brilliant opportunity for Marvel Studios to tease the beloved clawed mutant.

4 Elektra Exists, But Her Whereabouts Are Unknown

Elektra Natchios’ Fate Was Left Unclear After The Defenders

Elektra with weapons in the MCU

Élodie Yung debuted as Elektra Natchios in Daredevil season 2, revealed to be a past associate to Matt Murdock’s Daredevil and a member of the Chaste, the enemies of the Hand. Elektra had a large role in The Defenders, too, despite her death in Daredevil, as the Hand resurrected her and trained her as the legendary Black Sky. Elektra later assumed control of the Hand, but was trapped in the exploding building at the end of The Defenders, presumably marking her final death. However, her body was never found, which means Élodie Yung could return as Elektra in the MCU’s future, potentially even as soon as Daredevil: Born Again​​​​​​​.

While Élodie Yung could certainly return to the MCU, 2024’s Deadpool 3 is set to mark the return of Jennifer Garner as her version of Elektra Natchios from 2003’s Daredevil and 2005’s Elektra.

3 Karen Page & Foggy Nelson Have Even More Reason To Show Up Again

Karen Page & Foggy Nelson Haven’t Been Confirmed For Daredevil: Born Again

Karen Page and Foggy Nelson in the MCU

Karen Page and Foggy Nelson were as Matt Murdock’s closest friends, business partners and confidants throughout The Defenders Saga, but even when Charlie Cox was confirmed to be reprising his role of Daredevil in the MCU, Deborah Ann Woll and Elden Henson were not. The Hollywood Reporter previously revealed that Woll and Henson wouldn’t be returning for Daredevil: Born Again, but now that The Defenders Saga has been integrated into the MCU’s timeline, it’s possible that this could change. With Daredevil: Born Again undergoing a huge creative overhaul, Karen Page and Foggy Nelson could be brought back into the MCU.

2 Luke Cage Rules Over Harlem

Luke Cage Became Even More Powerful In Luke Cage Season 2

Luke Cage as a crime boss in the MCU

Despite being depicted as a vigilante hero and a member of the Defenders for most of his Defenders Saga career, Luke Cage season 2 ended with Colter’s Luke Cage inheriting Harlem’s Paradise following Mariah Dillard’s death. While he sets himself up as the new “sheriff” of Harlem, it’s suggested that Cage could become a new crime boss in New York City, which would surely create some brilliant conflict between the other Defenders. With Marvel Studios’ Echo teasing Kingpin’s election campaign to become Mayor of New York, it would be interesting to see what dynamic this would create with the new King of Harlem, Luke Cage.

1 Kingpin’s Criminal Empire Is Much More Developed

Vincent D’Onofrio Has Reprised His Role Of Wilson Fisk In The MCU

Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin was one of the most popular aspects of The Defenders Saga, which led to excitement when he reprised the role in the MCU proper in Hawkeye. Kingpin returned in Phase 5’s Echo, expanding on his story further, but the mainline MCU hasn’t fully demonstrated the scope of Kingpin’s criminal empire. The Defenders Saga did this perfectly, as Kingpin was able to move anywhere, kill anyone and pick and choose who stayed in prison, with fingers in many pies. Daredevil: Born Again will surely showcase Kingpin’s influence and power much more, and could even mark the return of some of his criminal connections from Marvel Television’s Defenders​​​​​​​ projects.

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